Euroleague Matchday 13
Laprovittola, against Wilbekin, in Barça's duel against Fenerbahçe.Alejandro Garcia (EFE)
After the fiasco against Virtus Bologna, in which a sensational half came together and broke down badly in the next, Barça took refuge in their particular Gaul, their Palau. And although the duel was a rollercoaster, where the Barça team skated at times and Fenerbahçe strung together a high-quality basketball, especially with shots from the periphery, Laprovittola and Willy Hernangomez appeared when needed to sign the victory, the 16th of a career at home, the second best historical streak of the team. The feat, however, is far from the mark obtained between November 2001 and February 2004, when he won 27 games, including the Final Four and the 2003 title at the Palau Sant Jordi.
Barça tried to forget the Italian disaster right off the bat, a choral basketball with freedom of movement as Grimau demands, where everyone feels like protagonists. Kalinic's basket after a rebound, another from Vesely from mid-distance, free throws by Laprovittola after a layup attempt and two stops accompanied by the consequent wrist turns by Satoransky to boost Barça, to clarify that he has enough basketball to dream of the European laurel that is so elusive to him.
But it also soon became clear that the team is still a project, that it lacks the maturity to govern the matches from head to toe and that Fenerbahçe is a rival with capital letters. Mostly because Dorsey came out in the paint – in relief of the former Barça player Calathes, who was valued for his vision of the game but not his lack of shooting skills – to strike inside and distribute sweets to the outside, where a Wilbekin of the most energetic and accurate was waiting and licking, capable of unsettling the Barça gear. The party from the perimeter was joined by two other ex-Barça players such as Hayes-Davies, who also did not make his fortune at the Palau, as well as Biberovic, Pierre and Dorsey himself, a fabulous eight of 11 in three-pointers (72.7%) to begin with. Only Sanli, the third musketeer of the Turkish team who also wore the Barça shield, missed a couple of shots.
Once again, Barça seemed to be left in insinuation, in a want and can't, even though Willy Hernangomez once again imposed his muscles under the hoop, the only one for the team not to relax or give up. But Fenerbahçe looked too much for Grimau's team (32-42), penalized for their lack of intensity in defense, unable to keep up with Dorsey's ball and Wilbekin's jumps. Joel Parra did appear – he is still asking for minutes on the parquet or at least for Grimau to change his inflexible hierarchy of opportunities a little – with two three-pointers and a basket of two to breathe encouragement into the Palau, a gasp in any case because on the other side of the net Madar appeared to reply and stifle any hint of reaction. An expressive 38-50 that made the record of the Palau, Panoramix's magic potion, pale in comparison. But the Palau does not fail.
After the intermission, Willy was still in his thirteenth year, determined that Barça would not disconnect from the game, kill here and celebrate Hulk-style there, a real headache for Montley, his dance partner. He was joined by Parker and Satoransky who made his centimeters count as a base. But Barça didn't even breathe with those because Fenerbahçe needed very little to do much damage, nothing like the three-pointers of Hayes-Davies and Dorsey. But Laprovittola, the magician with the orange ball, penetrations and assists —especially to Vesely—, catapulted to reduce the differences in the absence of the epilogue (63-64) had yet to appear on the scene.
The moment of truth arrived and once again arrived, as often happens this season, the outburst of Laprovittola, a player who throws himself on the team's back when matters go wrong, because he does not tremble when others burn the ball. A two plus one and a three-pointer, Barça finally took the lead after 23 minutes in the slipstream (69-64). Not enough to extinguish the flame of Fenerbahçe, of a Hayes-Davies determined to exhibit the basketball that he did not distill as a Barça. But Abrines, Kalinic and Willy, who else – he scored his best score in the EuroLeague with 21 points – appeared to put the signature on it, as did Laprovittola with his last three-pointer, to explain that Gaul is not conquered, that against Asterix Laprovittola and Obelix Hernangomez something more than good basketball is needed.
Baskonia, on the other hand, remains strong in Europe and beat Crvena Zvezda (87-85) with Markus Howard and Sedekerskis at the helm, 17 and 18 points respectively. Valencia also copied this success by beating Lyon away (55-78) thanks to the good work of Ojeleye (16 points).
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