Barça struggled this Saturday to qualify for the final of the Endesa Super Cup after beating a quarrelsome Valencia 71-65 who had chances of victory throughout the game thanks to the sheer quality of their squad.
From the beginning it was clear that we are at the start of the season and also that Valencia is more advanced in preparation. Barça still has a lot of work ahead of them, but their wardrobe is almost infinite and they have quality by the bucketload.
The whistles to Nikola Mitoric were a constant every time the forward touched a ball and the equality in the score at the end of the first quarter, 15-15, was a true reflection of the merits of both teams.
In the second act, Barça had a flat encephalogram for the first five minutes, in which only Brandon Davies showed his individual quality with 4 points.
The 19-26 (m.15) forced Svetislav Pesic to put all his gunpowder on the track with the return of Mirotic, Ante Tomic and Cory Higgins. Barça came out of its offensive lethargy, but continued without finishing closing the bottom line in defense, the true Achilles heel of their game that the Levantines exploited ad nauseam.
Valencia, with Mike Tobey and Brock Motum very in tune, took charge of scoring and were the main architects of Valencia reaching the break, leading the score, 29-32.
Another of the data from the first twenty minutes of the game that showed that it is the first official game of the season was the success from the triple, 2 of 13 for both teams and a poor 15,4 percent success rate.
A minute and a half of the continuation was what Mirotic needed, author of 5 points, to return his new team to lead the score, 34-32.
A triple by Víctor Claver and another by Mirotic himself increased the starting partial to 11-0, 40-32 (m.24). Until Louis Labeyrie, a World Cup player with France, broke the curse with a lateral triple.
The blaugranes felt better playing with the franchise score, but they couldn't prevent Valencia from coming out of their scoring drought, with a good Vanja Marinkovic and that at the end of the third quarter the score was balanced, 49-49.