Mirotic revives Barcelona against Madrid

Mirotic revives Barcelona against Madrid

Mirotic, with Calathes in the foreground, celebrates Barça's triumph in the Palau.Mirotic, with Calathes in the foreground, celebrates the Barça victory in the Palau.Enric Fontcuberta (EFE)

After the first game and losing by barely a beep, you could feel this Barça was bottomless, that they lacked confidence and even basketball. You could even say there was a smell of scorching, as Jasikevicius’s demanding message to electrify matches from start to finish didn’t seem to get through to the dressing room. At the beginning of the duel, the Barça team seemed excessive. But you don’t play with Mirotic. It didn’t matter if they put Yabusele, Deck, the two up front… The power forward took the ball, the starring role and all the pressure to lead Barcelona to a topping victory that leveled the streak, now with two Play go. Quarrel in Madrid.

As if the first game wasn’t over yet, Madrid started to burn. Hanga explained, who was already on the hoop in less than 15 seconds; Yabusele underlined it with a shot on the board and Deck confirmed it, who, like Pedro, went in the basket for his house. In one of them he also rolled over Sanli to show that the Turk – who forced himself into action after spraining his ankle in the final round of the semi-final series against Joventut – didn’t want to jog much. Stunned from a devastating start, Barça chained turnovers as they unsuccessfully searched for Mirotic. A partial from 0-8 expanded to 4-14. Until Laprovittola and Jokubaitis stepped up to run and impress intensity, also to level the first quarter (13-17) and to feed the joy of Palau, everyone was aware that in the final a series has never been followed that with a 0-2 started .

It’s certainly odd, and against a rival flexing muscles like Madrid, that Jasikevicius continues to back Hayes-Davis, anonymously for a long time, and doesn’t include Exum, an energetic player like few others, on the call. The one biting his nails after three games on the bench was Llull, who had already recovered from his torn muscle. That’s how Chus Mateo put it because someone was missing to run the show; because Hanga and Causeur are escorts; and also because the white team made water out of the perimeter as they potted two of 15 shots from three until the break. But neither Llull nor the players who weren’t in the starting XI contributed much compared to Barça’s substitutes, who added rebounds (Smits, Jokubaitis) and points (Laprovittola and Davies), as well as the pride and honor that the team seemed to have lost by the way. Not even the lack of an offensive rebound, once more Barça’s weakness because it’s not worth a Dennis Rodman, prevented Calathes, after a suit against Tavares and a lay-up, from giving Barcelona a lead of 26:24 for the first time in the ensuing duel in 16 minutes. At the break, however, it was a draw (32:32).

Nikola’s inspiration

Barcelona were expecting their star like Maiwasser and Nikola Mirotic demanded a turnaround after the break, scoring the first seven points for the Catalans. It so happened that his teammates weren’t helping him too much at the time, that Madrid continued to pull their thing in the bottle, annoying and thundering the Palau especially when Hanga returned to make a mate the moment Calathes was down , because his head was bumped into Davies while looking for a ball. The blow was so severe that they had to sew up his cheekbones before he returned to the field to fight. The one in which Llull was already there, as he was to recall, to reopen the gap (46-52); the one in which Mirotic continued – 12 points in the fourth – and Laprovittola joined to end the third half for Barça (56-54).

Another who enjoys competing and running is Jokubaitis, who was applauded by the fans when he came on and needed a break for the job well done (65-57). But his rest was indigestible for Barcelona, ​​Laprovittola foolish with three straight hat-tricks, superbly replicated by Yabusele (65-65). It then happened that everyone was shaken, a series of missed free throws, losses, blocks… Until, of course, Mirotic came back on the scene. “I don’t want Mirotic’s shots getting public!” Chu’s Mateo claimed at the start of the penultimate timeout. But not with them. His was the ball, the game and the win that kept Barcelona alive. “Nikola Mirotic, la, la, la, la, lalalá!” the fans shouted at the end of the challenge as a sign of appreciation and gratitude. It wasn’t for less.

Follow EL PAÍS Deportes on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.