The Barça, with a notable Pau Gasol (13 points in 10 minutes), resolved in the second half the match against a brave Baxi Manresa (97-89), who in the resumption ran out of gasoline to overcome the defensive intensity of his rival.
It was an irregular match for the Barça team, which in the Palau Blaugrana had two faces. In the first half he remembered the defeat in the last classic against Real Madrid, without intensity behind; in the second one saw that of Barça that their coach wants: focused on defense.
Opposite, an opponent was measured who, led by Scott Eeatherton in the paint (23 points), could not stop the locals from the third quarter, when the quality of the talent of Nikola Mirotic, Cory Higgins – both with 16 points- and Brandon Davies (21 points).
The Manresa set raised a brave encounter. In the first 20 minutes, he set the pace, running in attack, dominating the offensive rebound (10) and moving the ball (13 assists). However, he did not reach the break with an advantage (53-51) because of a triple on the horn of Cory Higgins.
Defense is Barça’s thermometer and, in the first half, it didn’t exist. He accepted the exchange of blows from the beginning. Pau Gasol got on the right foot in attack, but the first blow was given by the visiting team with Eatherton scoring from the paint and Rafa Martínez from the perimeter (17-22, min.8).
Without exterior success, Brandon Davies entered to send in the zone and equal a very offensive first quarter (24-24). Despite the rotations, Barça did not win back and Baxi took advantage of it to continue with their festival of assists and offensive rebounds.
Special mention deserved in the second quarter the inner binomial formed by Hinrichs and Eatherton, who scored 10 and 13 points respectively in the first 20 minutes.
The locals pulled the talent of Higgins and Mirotic to respond to the choral game of the team coached by Pedro Martínez, and was saved from going to rest below thanks to a last-minute shot from the American forward.
Something happened in the Barça team’s dugout at halftime. Another Barça was seen in the resumption, proposing a more physical and intense basketball in defense.
The result was a 17-3 run in six minutes (70-54). In attack they unbalanced in the zone Pau Gasol, author of seven points in the third quarter, and Nikola Mirotic.
They were six minutes of Barça gale that evaporated when Baxi Manresa ran in attack again, taking advantage of Barça’s relaxation.
A partial of 5-13 (75-67) angered ‘Saras’ and his players. From the personnel line and defense, they closed the third quarter with a comfortable advantage (81-68).
He started the last act with Barça wanting to resolve the duel on the fast track. It seemed that he got it from the paint with Smits i Davies (87-70, min.33), but Manresa did not lower their arms.
Baxi recovered balls and was able to run, again, in attack. He penalized Barça, who lost the north in defense and saw his rival approach five minutes to go (87-80).
Finally, Jasikevicius’ squad did not relax in the last minutes and avoided scares before starting the Euroleague play-offs against Zenit Saint Petersburg on Wednesday.
97- Barça (24 + 29 + 28 + 16): Calathes (3), Higgins (16), Abrines (9), Mirotic (16) and Gasol (13) -starting five-, Smits (7), Claver (-), Davies (21), Westermann (2), Hanga (6), Oriola (4) and Kuric (-).
89- Baxi Manresa (24 + 27 + 17 + 21): Ferrari (7), Rafa Martínez (12), Vaulet (3), Hinrichs (12), Sima (8) – starting five- Jou (3), Mason (16), Eatherton (23), Dani García (5), Báez (-) and Sajus (-),
Referees: Jordi Aliaga, Jorge Martínez and David Sánchez. Without eliminated.
Incidents: Match of matchday 32 of the Endesa League played at the Palau Blaugrana without an audience. Before the match, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of former FC Barcelona vice president Josep Mussons, who recently passed away.