Both Real Madrid and Barcelona lost their games this weekend. Both are looking tired and a little disconnected, no doubt the consequence of the accumulation of games at home and on the road. But the state of each team is not quite the same.
Barcelona is a team in transition phase. With J. C. Navarro focused only on the play offs and Marcelinho less decisive than in previous seasons, Barcelona is caught in the middle. Satoransky is not quite there yet, Abrines is not either and Pleiss is clearly on the way out. Xavi Pascual has built a team around Tomic, if the Croatian leaves Joan Creus will have to work hard to provide Pascual with a good centre…plus a handful of players a lot more solid than Nachbar and Lampe. In a nut shell, Barcelona is on for major refurbishment this summer and that may be the reason for the apparent lack of motivation of some players.
That is no disrespect for Valencia’s performance. If only they had a couple of really good players in the paint! Valencia can deliver performances like today’s only during the regular season, but they cannot win major tournaments, at least for now. Pau Ribas and Pablo Aguilar are national team material.
Real Madrid defeat today though is a different matter. The team is well positioned to finish first on the Euroleague Top 16 and on Liga Endesa’s regular season too. I think that there is an element of complacency combined with accumulated stress. However the situation is not as favourable as to allow Real Madrid to lose any more games. Finishing first of their group of the Top 16 is key given the huge difference between their potential opponents of the other group. It is not clear though how motivated Real Madrid is in the domestic front. Real Madrid is now three wins ahead of Barcelona with only nine games to go, I would think that Pablo Laso may settle for a second place if that gives him a little more headroom to concentrate on the Euroleague.