Tuesday, September 26, 2023

103-89: Unicaja does not measure up in Vitoria

There was great enthusiasm to see the “premier” of Unicaja in the Endesa League. This time neither Baskonia nor Buesa Arena seemed neither the rival nor the forbidden territory of other seasons. But the reality was very different this Friday for a Unicaja that went from nothing (18-33) to nothing (103-89) in 40 minutes of difficult reading. Because the first quarter of Ibon Navarro’s team was with honors, but after 10 minutes the image was quite pitiful. What is the real Unicaja? That’s the big question. If it looks like the one in the first 10 minutes, we’re in luck. If it looks like the one after…

The fact is that the renewed green project premiered the 2022/2023 Endesa League with a resounding defeat in Vitoria. A setback that erases at a stroke the good expectations that surrounded the green and purple team these days. It is not that losing on the Baskonia track is a drama. Not much less. But the way to do it was very ugly. They lacked patience, zeal in defense, concentration and intensity. In other words, everything necessary to compete face to face with a team of the caliber of the Basque.

Despite the defeat, there is a proper name to highlight. Nihad Djedović He was one of the best of the team in Vitoria. He was one of the keys to the triumphant start of the team and one of the few who stood up when things went wrong. He went up to 20 points and a PIR of 24. But the Bosnian was too alone in his quest to row when things turned ugly. And so it was impossible to have the slightest choice.

There were two games. One lasted the first 10 minutes and the other started from the 11th minute. And it is that the first quarter of Unicaja if it was not perfect, it lacked very little. The team was a cyclone in attack, causing Joan Peñarroya to stop the match with 5-12, in a Buesa that went from party to funeral in just 3 minutes. The greens put everything. 2’s and 3’s. Each typesetter player who got up found the prize in the basket. It was an offensive binge that took the match to +13 by reaching the 10th minute, 22-35.

The Baskonia found its “savior” in Howard. And the game changed radically with the ex-NBA on the court. The American did a lot of damage with his shots and his penetrations. And that was enough for his team to cling to the game, 35-35, after a 13-0 in favor of the Basques. Unicaja was diluted second by second. He lost his finesse in attack, but he also stopped defending. He allowed too many open shots released to the Baskonia shooters and the game got extremely complicated, 55-42. After a bloody partial of 37-12the players went to rest with 59-47 in favor of the locals.

The Los Guindos team did not improve in the third quarter. On the contrary. He continued without ideas, without any tension, lost on the parquet floor of a Buesa, focused on his people. Those from Peñarroya went up to 24 up, 82-58. It was an unbearable pim, pam, pum for a Unicaja surrendered to the superiority of its rival. With +25 (93-68), already in the final sprint, the rival decided to take his foot off the accelerator. The greens took the opportunity to cover up the defeat, which ended in a somewhat more “decent” 103-89.

Anyway, no time for regrets. In less than 48 hours, Gran Canaria awaits at the Martín Carpena. A Eurocup category team, who already won last year in Malaga and who will not make it easy this Sunday from 5:00 p.m. The 0-1 in the classification forces not to fail. We will see…


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