REPORT | 01/03/2019The Whites didn't manage to claim victory at the Palau in a game in which the defenses came out on top.
- Matchday 24
A tribute to Juan Carlos Navarro in Real Madrid's presence gave way to a first quarter in which the defenses dominated. With both teams focusing their attention on the defense, points were hard to come by and most of them came close to the basket. Randolph (five points) and Carroll (four) led the Whites' in the offensive department, whilst Heurtel (seven) and Ribas (four) responded for the hosts (16-17, min. 10).
Madrid surge, Barcelona hits back
The madridistas' start to the second quarter, with two treys and entering the bonus, enabled the guests to tear up an 8-0 run that ended with the scores at 21-29 and the biggest advantage of the night in the 15th minute, courtesy of a fine spell from Carroll and Rudy. The latter sunk his 377th triple to draw level with Holden as the EuroLeague's all-time seventh-highest three-pointer scorer. However, the visitors missed free shots (3/15 on three-pointers), whilst Pesic's men made the most of their dominance on rebounds. Tomic, who was more comfortable in Tavares's absence, started to make his mark (12 points in the quarter). He and Kuric unlocked the Whites' defense and tore up a 21-8 run to leave the scores at 42-37 at the end of the first half.
That Real Madrid went almost four minutes without posting any points at the start of the third quarter was a hindrance that forced the team into having to double its efforts. Barcelona surpassed a 12-point led for the first time at 50-37 in the 24th minute. Pablo Laso's men responded with some good defending and plenty of pride. The guests restored their intensity at the back and Llull (seven points in the quarter) and Randolph paced the team. Madrid moved to within four points at 55-51 in the 30th minute and could have come even closer when a foul wasn't awarded following a Carroll penetration that culminated in a technical foul on Llull in the final play of the quarter.
Kept going until the end
However, not only were the Whites battling against the opposition, they also had to contend with their own lack of shooting accuracy. It wasn't the guests best day at the office in offense, with many turnovers punished by Barcelona, who headed into the final five minutes with a 13-point lead (67-54). Real Madrid kept plugging away, with the excellent Rudy giving his all. A straight eight points from the forward and points from Ayón and Campazzo made it 75-70 with a minute and a half remaining. However, Barcelona's offensive rebounds put the game to bed and handed the hosts victory (77-70, min. 40).