A solid Barça, dull in attack beyond Álex Abrines’ triples but very focused on defense, this Sunday he added his thirteenth straight victory in the Endesa League (64-80) at the a Valencia Basket very diminished by injuries.
The two arrived with notable casualties, Sam Van Rossom and Bojan Dubljevic in the premises and Cory Higgins in the visitors, even without Pau Gasol. But Valencia also lost two players in the same positions, point guard Martin Hermannsson and center Mike Tobey, which wiped out what little faith he had in his options and leaves him in a difficult situation for Thursday’s momentous clash against Bayern Munich.
At the beginning, it was already difficult for Valencia to overcome Barça’s spider web and accumulated more losses than baskets, but it was also difficult for the Catalan team to score, in his case due to problems in the final execution. The visitors adjusted before, although so did the locals when Hermannsson entered.
But the Icelandic guard barely lasted two and a half minutes before retiring with an apparently muscular injury. Valencia accused the blow, but Barça spared his life with an unexpected series of failed triples that gave the locals time to assimilate the blow and find Nikola Kalinic as the unexpected game director (17-17, m.13).
Barça did not let the reaction pass from there, Abrines broke the jinx from the 6.75 line and the Catalan team took a comfortable lead that was reached just before the break with a new triple from the shooting guard (29-41, m.20). Valencia returned to the field with more conviction in their options and their defensive activity multiplied the losses of the ball by a relaxed Barça to the anger of their coach (43-45, m.26).
When the locals were better they also lost their leading scorer Mike Tobey through injury, in principle also muscular, and two triples, one by Víctor Claver and the other by Abrines, reestablished the script with which the break had been reached (47-58, m.30).
Two Marinkovic triples gave Valencia air, but Jaume Ponsarnau’s team got into a battle with the referees for what they understood was a different criterion with both teams that ended up misleading him and making it easier for Abrines, with a couple more triples ( seven of nine at the end) ended a clash that the locals ended with a quintet of circumstances to avoid more injuries.
64.- Valencia Basket (14+15+18+17): Vives (3), Prepelic (5), Kalinic (8), Williams (6), Labeyrie (5) -five starters- Marinkovic (9), Pradilla (3), Puerto (-), Tobey (13), San Emeterio (7) Hermannsson (-) and Sastre (5).
80.- Barcelona (17+24+17+22): Calathes (6), Hanga (8), Claver (6), Mirotic (11), Oriola (6) -five starters- Davies (8), Westermann (2), Bolmaro (-), Smits (6), Abrines (23), Martínez (-) and Kuric (4).
Referees: Peruga, Torres and Baena. Without eliminated.
Incidents: Match corresponding to matchday 27 of the Endesa League played behind closed doors due to sanitary restrictions due to the COVID 19 pandemic at the Fuente de San Luis pavilion.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.