The Barça He saved a difficult victory in Malaga in a game that, although he dominated from start to finish, he could only close in the final moments with two free throws by Nigel Hayes (73-75), after the Unicaja he threatened with a comeback on an afternoon marked by the emotional tribute to one of his legends, Carlos Cabezas, whose number ’10’ was retired forever.
Cory Higgins was a headache for the typesetters in a fit of pure effervescence (2-10, min. 4) that forced Fotis Katsikaris to call a timeout. Unicaja woke up in the second section of the first quarter, imposed more rhythm with Jaime Fernández on the track, but they lacked success in shots of two and, above all, from the triple, where they failed to hit a great defense of Barcelona.
The Barça team hurt on the inside and Unicaja’s mistakes, with several losses and too many fouls committed, condemned them to a partial evil to face the second quarter (11-23, min. 10).
The defense of the Malaga team climbed a step and with it his success, after so many good possessions after theft that were not taken advantage of with a basket on the counterattack. But against a giant like Barça, infallible when he moves the ball to find the most appropriate player, it is required to touch perfection or even touch it. And Unicaja did not get his basketball to cross the wall culé (19-31, min. 16).
After the most special break, which experienced the withdrawal of Carlos Cabezas’ shirt and seemed to spur on the locals, Unicaja rejoined the game with two triples that ignited Carpena. However, Kyle Kuric from the perimeter and Barça’s inner game kept the distance on the scoreboard.
Finding Micheal Eric in the paint was the plan to be followed by Katsikaris, who could not find a way to stop the unstoppable pace of a Barça with a few percentages of success in field shots that explained many things (33% of Unicaja, 52% of the Barça, min. 28).
Before leaving to play the last quarter, Francis Alonso missed a triple that would have put his team within six points, which would have been a turning point, but the fact that that shot did not enter left the locals with a bittersweet flavor for the last ten minutes against a Barça that dominated the scoreboard without shocks (49-58, min 30).
With Nick Calathes at the helm and Brandon Davies on the inside, Barça increased their dominance, and the spice was put by three almost consecutive techniques at Unicaja that were highly protested and lit the flag, even more so when Jaime Fernández was expelled by two techniques. A context of maximum tension where Jasikevicius’s team took a slice (60-72, min. 34)
Malagueños had to defend better than ever for their situation with the fouls and start putting everything they try. Against the zonal defense of Barça, complicated. Even so, Barça succumbed to the heart of the rival, who got within two points with 1:02 to go.
When the clock ticked twelve seconds, Abromaitis stole the ball to allow his team to dream of the equalizer, and it was time for stops, slates and intentional fouls. Finally, two free throws by Nigel Hayes closed the seventh consecutive victory for Barça, undefeated in this Endesa League and solo leader. EFE
73- Unicaja (11 + 12 + 26 + 24): Norris Cole (11), Brizuela (7), Barreiro (7) Abromaitis (8), Eric (15) -initial quintet-. Alberto Díaz (2), Jaime Fernández (6), Bouteille (13), Alonso (3) Nzosa (1), Carlos Suárez (0), Rubén Guerrero (0).
75- Barça (23+12+23+17): Calathes (4), Higgins (11), Sergi Martínez (2), Mirotic (7), Sanli () -initial quintet-. Davies (12), Laprovittola (4), Kuric (18), Jokubaitis (2), Smits (4), Hayes (9).
Referees: Miguel Ángel Pérez, Sergio Manuel and Vicente Martínez. They disqualified Jaime Fernández
Incidents: Match corresponding to matchday 7 of the Endesa League, played at the José María Martín Carpena Pavilion before 6,082 spectators.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.