There was little positive to take away from Catalonia for Joan Plaza’s side who lost 89-70 to Barcelona on Sunday.
Having secured their place in the playoffs, Unicaja’s new priority is to finish in the top four in order to secure home advantage. However, this took a setback at the Palau Blaugrana with the visitors poor in defence and with few answers when it came to their offensive game.
All looked to be going to plan after a frantic four minutes saw a spectacular exchange of three-pointers and Unicaja taking the early lead (11-12). The visitors, however, couldn’t maintain this level and Barcelona soon took control of the quarter, opening up an eight-point lead (28-20).
Unicaja’s drought continued into the second quarter and with their inability to slow the home side’s attack, this spelled disaster. Even without the withdrawn Tomic and Rice, Barça extended their lead to 11 points, forcing Plaza to introduce Nedovic. However, with the home side’s star men back in the picture, victory was all but assured by the break (49-35).
Plaza appealed for greater intensity in defence but there was no appreciable difference in the second half. Within three minutes the deficit had grown to 18 points (57-39) with Unicaja guilty of loose play, opening themselves up to the counterattack.
A fightback of sorts ensued, but yet another scoring spree from the hosts put the match beyond recovery going into the final quarter (69-52).
Despite ten minutes left to salvage some pride, there was no sign of a fightback nor any of the spirit displayed in the past two months. In fact, the Malaga side fell further behind, finishing 19 points short of their rivals - their largest league defeat of the season.