A new Classic for the final of a different Copa del Rey, without fans, which offered at least one great semifinal of a sport that strokes desperate to remain profitable in the era of the coronavirus. The Barça will face this Sunday (18.30, Movistar +) in the final with Real Madrid, after giving no option during the second semifinal of the afternoon to a grayish TD Systems Baskonia, which he defeated 77-68.
It was not the day of the Vitorian team, which barely lasted until the end of the second quarter (when two consecutive triples by Nikola Mirotic and one more from Cory Higgins broke the game: 38-27 at halftime). In the second half, the Barça team dominated the scoreboard with some ease, until with five minutes remaining the Vitorian team logró approach 6 points (69-63), to end up winning 77-68.
Very different was the first duel on Saturday in the Wizink Center, which offered Madrid an opportunity to showcase their extraordinary competitive tenacity at home after some disastrous first minutes that led them to lose by up to 18 points in front of a magnificent Lenovo Tenerife that only lost by bad luck: Sergio Llull had one of those epic days.
It was the Spaniard who best understood the team’s problem and took the reins to stand up to two demons like Huertas and Fitipaldo, the one who allied with Conversationalist Y Deck to solve the ballot when the Txus Vidorreta they threatened a surprise. Everything, of course, under the huge umbrella of Tavares, which took over an area (15 rebounds) where they did not distribute candy precisely.
Few had Real Madrid at the start of the Copa del Rey. He arrived mentally and physically exhausted, but for the umpteenth time he proved that it is a mistake to leave him for dead before his time. After a fabulous comeback, the whites defeated Lenovo Tenerife (85-79) and they will play their eighth consecutive cup final this Sunday. Big words.
Before a superlative Lenovo, who took his rival out of the game in the first half (22-40 min 16) led by Huertas (22), Guerra (15) and Fitipaldo (13), Madrid had to lay hold of their pride and bring out their champion breed to sign an epic comeback that was signed by Deck (18 + 8), Causeur (18) and Carroll (11), and the stellar stamp of a decisive Tavares (6 + 15 + 4 blocks) and an exalted Llull (11 + 3 + 5) that reminded him of his best times.
A triple of Doornekamp put emotion, but Thompkins he sentenced after an assist from Llull’s back, which put the icing on the cake to a capital individual performance, like those of yesteryear.
It will be the fifth Madrid-Barça final in the last eight years and the nineteenth in the 85 editions of the Copa del Rey.
Conversation Jasikevicius, Barça coach, considered that “we will not be able to relax for a minute, because in front of us there will be a rival of the highest level who will surely punish us as Baskonia has done today; each game is a new story and what has happened before does not mean anything”.
Pablo Laso, Real Madrid coach, showed “very proud” of their players’ work: “Our start has not been good, we have missed free throws, they took the rebound from us, we were behind and they play basketball very well and it was hard for us to find the rhythm. Little by little we have been improving, involving more people in the game, and lifting 18 points behind a team like this speaks very well of us, “said the coach from Vitoria: “This does not start today, it is a job that comes throughout the season and I am very proud of the work done during these months. ”
With this Sunday’s game, Real Madrid and Barcelona will have seen each other 23 times, making it the most repeated match in Copa history. In the balance between the two, the Catalan team clearly dominates, with 17 victories and only 5 defeats in the previous 22, including the last two times they saw each other in the tournament, the 2018 and 2019 finals, in which they defeated Real Madrid in Las Palmas and Madrid, respectively.
This season they met on December 27, on matchday 16 of the Endesa League, in a match that Barça won at home by 82-87 and which was the only defeat of the whites in ACB so far.
Pablo Laso will direct his ninth cup final in a decadeWhile Lithuanian coach Sarunas Jasikievicius will make his debut in a final of the KO tournament and aims to win his first trophy on the Barça bench. (Eph)