Mirotic and Willis fight for the ball during the third game between Barcelona and Joventut.

Mirotic and Willis fight for the ball during the third game between Barcelona and Joventut.
Mirotic and Willis fight for the ball during the third game between Barcelona and Joventut.Andreu Dalmau (EFE)

Although Saras Jasikevicius was screaming on the sidelines to the sound of his exaggerated fuss, drying his face with a towel in true Nadal style and his shirt was soaked with sweat, it was soon seen that his Barcelona were not going to concede as much as in the second duel, when Joventut equalized the series, now unbalanced in favor of the azulgrana. Merit of Higgins and Mirotic, to the point that his team needs a win in one of the next two games to reach the final, where Madrid awaits.

That was explained by Brandon Davies, who made a basket on the first possession to forget his zerocerism in the previous match; Laprovittola highlighted it with his gold wrist; and it was corroborated by the Barça defense, which denied the first attempts by Ribas, Willis and Feliz, enough to escape 2-9 and necessary to keep the distance throughout the first quarter (14-23), supported by the rebounds of Mirotic and a galloping basketball, steal and shotgun transitions.

La Penya tried to rebel. First from the perimeter, clever Ribas, Bassas and Vives; and later, to the beat of Ribas and with Tomic’s baskets, he managed to get within three points. But Kuric —yes, the same one who added 19 consecutive missed triples; 42 blank days— came to life at the same time as Mirotic, who showed the tension after scoring a triple and anesthetizing Badalona’s ambitions before concluding the second quarter (36-46), at which point he asked for the encouragement of the scant Barça public in the Gaul dark green Energy that Higgins underlined, sensational in front of the hoop, finally forgetting the troubles caused by the injury to the plantar fascia of his left foot.

Joventut never understood that of giving up before time, a conviction that a burning Willis defended to the great by scoring 11 points in the third quarter, also an unstoppable Tomic —especially when they did not match him with Davies, who was soon charged with personnel – in the bottle. Just enough for La Penya to shorten the gap again (45-48), thickening Barça with three shots and even free throws. But Higgins was not in the business of agreeing with Jasikevicius — he always accuses the team of not knowing. to kill the duels—, nor a Laprovittola who went from less to more to close the partial by 56 to 61.

Joventut persisted in looking for inside balls for Tomic, who punished Sanli and Davies by provoking personal [el primero acabó expulsado] and that he spurred on as best he could —he finished with 21 points— the illusions of La Penya. But Mirotic asked for the ball and the leading role (18 points), always capital in crucial moments, and finished a match that Barça ruled from pe to pa. Advantage in the series for the azulgrana, who come close to the final.

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