Rodríguez leads Real charge against Barça to level series
Madrid erases memory of on-the-buzzer loss in first game
Forty-eight hours after its cruel dying seconds defeat in the first game of the ACB play-off series, Real Madrid got revenge with a 69-75 win over Barcelona Regal in game two at the Palau Blaugrana on Friday. The result ties the series 1-1 with three more matches remaining.
Its savior was its point guard Sergio Rodríguez, who scored 14 points, including four three-pointers, just at the moment his team was staring into the abyss. At a maximum gap of 65-56 with six minutes to go in the final quarter, the Canarian unleashed two three-pointers that not only kept Real in the game but also upset the Barcelona defense line.
Rodríguez’s rallying cry was supported by Jaycee Carroll and Nikola Mirotic, whom the Canarian found in a corner. Another two more three-pointers in a row put Real back in front. And this time there was no time for a miracle basket of the sort with which Brazilian Marcelinho Huertas had snatched victory for Barcelona earlier in the week.
This series seems to be one that rewards forcefulness ahead of consistency. In terms of dominance, Madrid looked to deserve more out of the first game, as Barça did more from the second. Freed by Wednesday’s victory, the Catalans had a different pulse. Huertas was on the busiest players on court and when Huertas moves, so does Barça, while Erazem Lorbek had a magnificent match.
Real has done its homework and can now settle the series on home turf in its next two games on Monday and Wednesday.