Real Madrid took a 2-0 lead in the Liga Endesa Finals on the back of a 31-10 first frame as they routed Barcelona in the Barclaycard Centre
Every now and again, Real Madrid remind you what they can do when they really want to hurt a team. Los Blancos started 8 of 8 from three, with Sergio Llull nailing 5 threes in the first frame, in a 100-80 beat down of Barcelona. The game was all but over after 7 minutes. It was like Pablo Laso had pointed to the name on number 44’s jersey and screamed “THAT! That is what I demand!” before the game began. Llull certainly heard him.
When their offence is on like this it’s easy to forget just how good Real can play on D. The home side utterly suffocated Barcelona through the first frame. It was a repeat of their second quarter against Fenerbahce a month earlier. Real were running Barcelona into the ground and the Blaugrana really didn’t help their cause by playing like statues. For the second straight game in this series Ante Tomic was irrelevant. The big Croatian who was nearly unguardable in the paint all season was shut down by Madrid’s smart rotations and Tibor Pleiss offered no real relief off the bench.
The lack of pace in Barca’s game can’t solely be put down to Real’s stellar back court defence. Tomas Satoransky and Alex Abrines caused enough problems for themselves. Despite their youth and athleticism, both were flummoxed and were lacking in ideas to test Los Blancos. If ever there was a time to put in Mario Hezonja early, this game screamed of it. The Croatian sensation only entered after Real had already put Barca in a near impossible position and while his own performance was far from fabulous on the day, he would have offered a different look and a significant change of pace if he had been put in earlier.
The game, and this series so far, however belonged to Rudy Fernandez. Much as he had in Game 1 two nights ago, the most hated man in European basketball played like he want to earn ever penny he was paid for that selfie. This was another chip on his shoulder cliche ridden gut it out game from the former Portland Trail Blazer. Rudy doesn’t care if you hate him, he just wants the treble more than anyone playing in this series right now. Llull rightly got the love for his ludicrous start but it was Rudy who kept punishing Barcelona through to the final horn.
Game 3 is on Wednesday and Xavi Pascual needs to pull out something smarter than this display to avoid the sweeep.