ANDhe disaster was consummated for Unicaja in what is already the worst season in its recent history. He had to win at Real Madrid, who arrived with the assured leadership and with losses as momentous as Tavares, but he was unable. And so he was left out of the playoffs, which had not happened since 2013. The Katsikaris men could avoid it because they had possession to win with a triple but Brizuela did not transform into the white Mamba and the triumph escaped to the merriment of Herbalife Gran Canaria that sneaks into the fight for the title.
His intentions have already begun to twist from the initial jump. Obsessed with neutralizing Poirier and Tyus, they let Carroll and Laprovittola too loose. And that translated into three long shots in White’s first three attacks and a 2-11 in less than three minutes. A difference that reached a maximum of 12 (8-20) thanks to an inspired Carroll -13 points for himself. The local team then reacted with more defensive momentum and a 7-0 attack, but Vukcevic, on his first ball, closed the room with a new triple that placed a just 17-25.
The Katsikaris had to put up with it if they didn’t want the wall to become even more gigantic. But every time they got closer on the electronic, Laso’s snipers pierced the hoop with astonishing ease thanks to his 7/10 from 6.75. Llull wasn’t fine, but it didn’t matter either. Causeur was there to make amends for any mistakes. In the middle of the second act, with Abalde distributing assists, the playoffs eluded Unicaja with a 24-39. There, Madrid lowered its level. The shots were no longer going in and Rudy contributed to the excitement of the duel. Unsportsmanlike and technical in the same action for the Balearic, who took advantage of Brizuela and Abromaitis to reduce distances to rest (39-45).
The visit to the changing rooms suited the visitors better, who took just 4 minutes to once again exceed the ten lead (48-59). On this occasion, through the defense, where only Bouteille managed to escape from the tight markings. The Frenchman, however, was very alone with his 13 points in the fourth. Quite the opposite than opposite, where several players helped in the scoring. Bench depth they call him. The gap became 13, but self-love, not the game, made him stay at 9 (62-71) to face the final stretch of the crash.
A short quintet then chose Katsikaris to give speed and fluidity to the attack. Time was money to come back and the actions should not last more than 14 seconds. With the turbo set, Unicaja got to 6 with possession (69-75) with 7 minutes remaining. It was the moment. Or it seemed. Because he failed in that instant, but he did not give up in his efforts. And step by step, like an ant, he cut to equalize the game at 86 with two consecutive triples from a reborn Thompson. Deon himself, 51 seconds away, missed a free throw to get ahead. The worst, however, was yet to come. Brizuela, with 2 down, gave up a triple and missed the penetration that could have taken the game to extra time. In the end, after several free throws, 90-96 and Unicaja were left out of the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Subscribe to the BRAND Basket Newsletter and receive in your email, from Monday to Sunday and first thing in the morning, the exclusive news, interviews, reports, graphics and videos that will mark the day in the NBA, Endesa League, Euroleague and the rest of the basket world.