With an unstoppable Jan Vesely (27 points) and the Blaugrana heart in defense with a Palau Blaugrana dedicated, Barça started the year with an important victory against Madrid in the Euroleague (83-78), without a doubt, the best medicine to leave behind the horrible month of December that almost claimed the Barça coach.
Grimau tried to surprise by leaving Laprovittola on the bench and with Da Silva on top of Campazzo, with a very tall Barça quintet, all over two meters. A meeting that entered at a frenetic pace, with a Musa very inspired by the triplee – three consecutive – while Kalinic was the most successful for Grimau’s team (9-11).
He Barça tried to print a fast pace and with an aggressive defense although that led him to add many fouls very quickly, leading to free kicks for the whites who benefited from that high rate of Blaugrana fouls.
Musa added his fourth additional triple with a Madrid that was beginning to set the pace and with Tavares conditioning Barça’s defense. The Cape Verdean gave a maximum of 8 to the whites (14-22).
Grimau decided to change the appearance of the team putting four players in, and with the three point guards on the court. The Barça coach received a technique, putting pressure on the referees, although the first quarter was for Madrid (21-25) after two missed free throws by Parra.
Madrid continued with confidence and a three-pointer from Llull returned the maximum to the Madrid (22-30). Grimau gave command to Laprovittola, who once again remembered the decisive player, reading the game clearly and helping Barça reduce the lead to four (26-30).
Mateo, seeing that the duel was in the hands of the Argentine, decided to stop and reorganize his team. The inspiration of Laprovittola (31-33) gave the Blaugranas air. Barça was not the best, without the confidence of the beginning of the season, although it presented a battle although the whites reacted quickly (31-37).
Madrid ruled the scoreboard and the game, although Vesely’s insistence (12 points at halftime), and Parke’s triplesry and the last one from Brizuela to the limit, allowed Barça to continue believing in victory at half-time (45-47).
Barça returned from the locker room with determination and even took the lead with a triple from Kalinic (48-47), although Madrid responded with Hezonja. But Grimau’s team clearly increased the intensity, and it needed to be translated into the score (50-50). And Barça’s first advantages arrived with Vesely leading the attack. A partial score of 12-3 for the Blaugrana gave them the maximum (54-50).
Madrid had problems scoring and Mateo put his shooters on the court, with Hezonja, Musa and Llull. The Barça defense was having an effect and the score was for Barça, although with very short leads (58-55). Although Sergio Rodríguez entered the court and five consecutive points from ‘Chacho’ returned control to the whites at the end of the third period (60-62).
In the final quarter, the tension was evident. Two calm guys like Laprovitola and Sergio Rodríguez experienced an attempt at confrontation. The Argentine didn’t like the Canarian’s elbow after scoring, and they almost ended up exchanging blows. After the review, the referees decided it was unsportsmanlike for both.
Barça, a cyclone in the final quarter
The Palau was a pressure cooker and Barça benefited from the ‘rifi-rafe’, with a Vesely again on the charge. A 9-0 run gave the Blaugrana the maximum (69-62) and forced Chus Mateo to stop the game.
But the Blaugrana were going strong, and a triple by Kalinic took Barça’s lead to 10 (72-62) with a run of 14-0. The lead even reached 12 (74-62) with an unleashed Vesely, who asked the fans for more pressure. Madrid scored its first basket with a two plus one from Campazzo.
Madrid tried to get back into the game (80-75) although a triple from the best Laprovittola (14 points and 8 assists) put the duel in franchise for Barça (83-78) that revives at the beginning of 2024.