Barcelona dominates El Clásico
FC Barcelona took the first clásico of this Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season by downing archrivals Real Madrid 79-72 at home on Friday. Barcelona improved to 4-1 in the standings while Real dropped to 1-4. Kyle Kuric led the winners with 15 points. Brandon Davies added 14, Cory Higgins had 13 while Sergi Martinez pulled down 9 rebounds for Barcelona. Trey Thompkins led Real with 14 points while Alberto Abalde added 13. Barcelona led 18-14 after 10 minutes and boosted its margin to 48-27 at halftime. Real managed to get as close as 64-56 early in the fourth quarter but Martinez and Higgins stepped up in crunch time to keep Los Blancos out of reach until the final buzzer.
Rolands Smits got Barcelona with a one-handed alley-oop slam and Alex Abrines added a close jumper before Edy Tavares and Carlos Alocen gave Real its first lead, 4-5. Adam Hanga took over with an acrobatic layup and Davies followed a jump hook with a jumper for a 12-9 Barcelona edge. Abalde stitched together a jumper and a triple but Higgins, Kuric and Pierre Oriola kept the hosts ahead, 18-14, after 10 minutes. Kuric struck with a four-point play early in the second quarter. Gabriel Deck scored around the basket, Sergio Llull banked in an off-balance shot and Rudy Fernandez struck from downtown as Madrid got within 25-21. Kuric followed a layup with a jumper, igniting a 7-0 run in which Davies sank a five-meter shot that made it a double-digit game, 32-21. Usman Garuba stepped up with a put-back layup and a jumper for Madrid but Heurtel and Davies rescued Barcelona. Nick Calathes added a fastbreak layup that broke the game open, 41-25. Smits capped a 13-0 run with a bomb from beyond the arc that boosted the Barcelona lead to 46-25. A jumper by Higgins kept it that high, 48-27, at halftime. Abrines scored in penetration soon after the break. Abalde sank a jumper and Tavares added a layup to bring Real within 50-31. Thompkins hit a put-back layup, getting help from Facu Campazzo and Jeffery Taylor to make Barcelona call timeout at 54-39. Abrines struck from beyond the arc but Thompkins and Garuba brought Real even closer, 57-43. Abalde scored again, Campazzo sank a three-pointer and Garuba added a layup for a 60-50 score. Kuric and Davies gave Barcelona some fresh air at 64-52 after 30 minutes. Thompkins scored down low early in the fourth quarter and Campazzo banked in a floater that made it a single-digit game, 64-56. Martinez downed a triple and Higgins followed that with a layup-plus-free throw and a jumper that seemed to seal the outcome, 72-58, with over 4 minutes left. Llull, however, had 5 points in a 0-7 run that gave Real hope, 72-65, with under 3 minutes to go. Davies dunked and Martinez scored in the paint to allow Barcelona to celebrating an important win.
Martinez entered the game averaging 0.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in two previous EuroLeague appearances this season. He played 30 minutes and 7 seconds tonight, and finished it with 7 points and a game-high 9 rebounds for a PIR of 10. Martinez definitely was Barcelona's unexpected factor in this game.
Real only found his usual scoring rhythm early in the second quarter. Campazzo found Deck for a layup, Llull buried a jumper and Fernandez added a triple to get their team within 25-21. That's when Kuric stepped up with back-to-back baskets and Davies downed a jumper from the high post for Barcelona's first double-digit lead, 32-31. Real's offense collapsed right after that and Barcelona kept a safe margin until the final buzzer.
An outstanding first half made the difference in this game. Barcelona hit 15-of-22 two-point shots (68.2%), limited Real to hit just 7-of-21 shots inside the arc (33.3%) and outrebounded Los Blancis by 19-10. The PIR difference at halftime, 59-14, said it all.
Did you know?
Real had never registered four losses so early in any of its EuroLeague seasons this century. Last season, Real needed 19 games before suffering its fourth loss of the season. In the 2013-14 season, Madrid had its fourth loss in the 27th game of the season, Game 3 of the playoffs against Olympiacos Piraeus.
Both teams returning to EuroLeague next week. Real hosts FC Bayern Munich on Thursday, October 29. A day later, Barcelona visits TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Two Barcelona players, Hanga and Heurtel, go against their former team.
Friday, October 23, 2020