The Barça, with doubts after the first two games of the playoffs of the Euroleague disputed at the Palau Blaugrana (1-1), faces this Wednesday (7:00 p.m.), against the Saint Petersburg Zenith, the first opportunity to recover the track factor and get closer to the dream of playing the Final Four.
The goal of the Catalans to be in Cologne is to win at least one of the two games that this week – tomorrow and next Friday – will play in Russia.
He waits for the team trained by Sarunas Jasikevicius a rival who, after winning the first game (74-76) and putting him between the ropes in the second (81-78), faces the second leg of the series without the pressure of the favorite.
By budget, talent and depth of staff, the Barça It should be among the four best teams to play for the title. But before he has met him Zenith from Xavi Pascual, a tough nut to crack that has exposed the weaknesses of the Barça squad.
Barça de Basket, on the way to Saint Petersburg
The whole of Saint Petersburg raised in the first two stakes a defensive and physical basketball, very uncomfortable for the Barça talent to shine.
The most affected player was Nikola Mirotic. In the first two games, the Spanish-Montenegrin power forward only transformed 6 shots from the field of 16 attempts.
His scoring average in the duels played at the Palau Blaugrana was 9 points, well below the 16.3 points he scored in the regular phase.
With your defense, Paschal handcuffed Mirotic and also controlled Nick calathes, the brain on the track Jasikevicius. The Greek-American base not only suffered defending Kevin Pangos, the differential player of the series to date, but was unable to get his team to move the ball fluently in attack.
With Calathes disconnected, it was difficult for the azulgrana team to find shots released from the perimeter, and stood up thanks to the talent of Cory Higgins and the intensity under the hoops of Brandon davies.
Jasikevicius, which last weekend gave rest in the victory against the MoraBanc Andorra (63-79) to Nikola Mirotic, Cory Higgins, Brandon davies Y Nick calathes, faces the double encounter in Saint Petersburg with all the available players.
The Zenith, on the other hand, he has the doubt of the pivot Arturas Gudaitis, who missed the second game with a sprained ankle, while the forward Mateusz ponitkaDue to injury, he was left without playing the first two games of the series.
Although beyond names and tactical aspects, Barça needs to regain the winning mentality. In both first matches, the Barça team ended up unhinged before the cobweb of Paschal.
Thus, players called to make a difference did not appear in decisive moments. It had to be Adam Hanga, with two steals and a triple in extra time of the second game, the one that gave air to his team equalizing the series.
In the Sibur Arena in Saint Petersburg, whose stands will have an audience, the most choral version of Barça will have to resurrect if it wants to play a Final Four seven years later.