Barcelona can with Joventut and will play the final of the Endesa League
Mirotic, during the fourth match against Joventut.
Mirotic, during the fourth match against Joventut.AFP7 via Europa Press (Europa Press)

Balls to Mirotic. That was the only plan that worked for Barcelona to dismantle a Joventut who defended tooth and nail and was able to reduce the rival in the second quarter to just six points. Insufficient, in any case, to peel off the Barça team, as thick in the shot as dependent on Mirotic, decisive in the hot moments for Barça to take the victory, also the pass to the final of the Endesa League (3-1 in the series). Real Madrid awaits him there.

First it was Vives, then Willis followed and Tomic arrived in a slipstream. Three blocks from Joventut as soon as the duel began that served to explain that La Penya had no intention of letting Barcelona into the kitchen, that to beat him they would have to do something better. Thus, overwhelmed by the intensity and by the fierce rival in the bottle, Barcelona found no other way than to shoot triples, foolish in the first set (2-9) and not at all improved in the second (0-7). It happened that Joventut also found the hoop very small with the three shots, to the point that he hit the first one after eight attempts. But Tomic imposed his law and centimeters from him while Parra, always as energetic as he was skilled, showed why he has been chosen by fans, journalists, players and coaches as the best youngster of the season. In one of his basket entries, for example, he took Sanli ahead, who must have left the paint with a visible limp, even though he later returned with his ankle to the virulé.

“Calm down, head, slowly!”, Jasikevicius shouted with a morrocotudo anger, annoyed that Mirotic had launched a counterattack to end up missing Tomic in attack when entering the basket. He worried the technician that his team had stopped making long attacks because he wanted to reduce the distances with Penya on a tangent. But there was no way to give the pause, Barça’s extremely poor percentage of success in field goals at the end of the second quarter (six of 34, 18%), while Penya enjoyed his impeccable defensive exercise, also with shots improbable that hit the target like that triple by Bassas that served to open a gap, in the end closing the quarter with an expressive 28-19. Six rickety points for the azulgrana in 10 minutes; authentic fairground shotgun shots.

“All our failures are open shots,” Jasikevicius resolved in the intermission. “Fight, fight and attack the spaces better”, Durán prescribed for his Joventut. But it was the Barça players who paid attention, because after the break they started to burn, especially the elegant and sharp Higgins to reduce the distances to three (28-25) and, of course, Mirotic from the perimeter and in the bottle to put up some tables (34-34) well suffered because the Penya ran twice, as if each possession were gold, also fed by an electric fan. That and that they have Tomic, always Tomic, whom they couldn’t tie the knot on unless they went with personal reiterations.

So the last quarter was reached with a very narrow score (39-40), with fear in Joventut’s body of being dismounted before time and with Barça’s nervousness for having to play a fifth game. An arm-wrestling duel —to the point that Vives’s shoes were broken and Mirotic was left with scratch marks on his arm— in which Calathes and Laprovittola showed that their pulse and wrist did not tremble, in which Brandon Davies finally appeared and in which Mirotic explained again that he needs tenths of a second to arm his arm and destroy rivals.

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