The infinite classic

“Maybe we played too many Clásicos… it is what it is,” says Jasikevicius. The feeling is general: the calendar is saturatedthere are too many parties, but the other side of the basketball coin is that many of those duels are elite, among the best, as happens in the current Euroleague, the most even ever. So, Madrid and Barça face each other again this Thursday (soon, at 7:00 p.m., so as not to coincide with the Cup derby at the Bernabéu). And they do, three weeks and three days after also meeting at the WiZink Center (then in the League), with the continental leadership at stake, which changes hands almost every day. Currently it is shared by four teams, the two Spanish plus Olympiacos and Fenerbahçe, in a beautiful run for the playoffs and home court advantage. From first to eighth, just two wins.

This scenario makes the Clásico attractive, as well as the spirit of revenge, which now travels with Madrid after chaining two defeats, the one mentioned in the League (78-87) and the one in October at the Palau (75-73). Real started with a trophy in the Super Cup and since then the azulgranas have ruled. The same happened last season, where Barça came to chain five victories in a row and ran out of streak right in the final four. “We were able to turn the situation around,” recalled Chus Mateo yesterdaywho sees the tactical preparation of these interwar skirmishes in this way, the ones that do not decide titles: “We are looking for a relative wow factor now and we try to refine for the futurebecause we are on our way to meet later”.

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The two technicians agree that the extra desire, sacrifice and energy makes a difference, “that’s what decides”, says Jasikevicius. And Mateo emphasizes: “These games are won if you match or exceed the energy level of the one in front of you, and you have to understand that.” Madrid did not do it on January 2, when Laprovittola and Higgins finished off the great work of Da Silva and company with 16 offensive rebounds. Tavares’ 19 points and 11 rebounds were insufficient in a block that showed defensive gaps and was paradisiacal in attack, in players without the ball.

An added incentive in this Clásico is that the infirmaries are almost empty. All ready in the visitors and only Abalde absent in the premises (plus Alocén and Randolph, injured for a very long time). “Barça is an extraordinary team and our level is even”, affirms Mateo, who will have Williams-Goss and Chacho, who were absent in Piraeus, so he has to make two discards. “Llull and Hanga can also act as wingers, perhaps in certain situations a forward may be left over”. From Classic to Classic to infinity.


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