16 June 2012
Edu Bueno (Barcelona) / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid had better stats in the PIR, rebounds, points, defence, assists... but the best sometimes don't win in basketball and they lost Game 5 in the final series at the Palau partly due to controversial refereeing decisions. The Whites nonetheless had a brilliant campaign in which they won the Copa del Rey and played spectacular basketball.
Real Madrid were truer than ever to their style in the series and used Carroll and Mirotic in the starting lineup. The American shooting guard pulled rank early on and forced Navarro to make two personal fouls only 90 seconds in. Both teams defended firecely and each basket was golden; they only had four each by minute seven. Mirotic and Ingles were scoring most points until C.J. Wallace, Eidson and Vazquez gave Barça a 7-2 run (16-12, 10').
Real dominated under the iron, pulling down most rebounds, but their ventures in offence were unsuccessful, while Barça were solid from the three-point line (24-16, 12'). Laso asked for time-out, following which Singler and Carroll scored three-pointers and Rodriguez started to set his pace to the game (26-30, 17'). The Whites' defence then weakened when they focused too much on Navarro, which Vazquez used to net eight points (39-34, 20').
The game became even more intense after half-time. Barça moved the ball well and scored easy shots, dominating also thanks to refereeing decisions. Laso tried to change things with Begic, who offered more solutions in offence. Real became superior in the paint thanks to great efforts from Llull and Singler (46-44, 25'), but their defence didn't improve and Mickeal and Vazquez took advantage of this (56-47, 30').
Llull grabbed the reins and led the team to score eight consecutive points. Real Madrid had been defending fiercely and were only four points behind on the 37-minute mark. Barça increased this to six points with a Lorbek field goal and a Mirotic foul. Felipe Reyes stepped up his game under the iron, making three consecutive grabs in offence and assisting Carroll in a shot that put Madrid back in the game only two points behind Barça. Mickeal replied with a lay-up in which there may have been dribbling but that the officiating crew ignored. Local ventures in offence always resulted in fouls by Real Madrid, who eventually lost despite three-pointers by Carroll and Singler in the final seconds. Barça won with free-throws with one second to go in what turned out to be an unfair end to the game for Madrid (73-69, 40').