|16 June 2012|
|Erazem Lorbek was on fire in Game 4 in Madrid to help Barcelona take the series back home and had a temperature ahead of Game 5 - that didn't stop him from playing and earning MVP honours|
Erazem Lorbek had a temperature on Saturday.
The Barcelona Regal big man felt so bad that he couldn't attend the morning shoot-around before their deciding fifth game in the Spanish Liga Endesa play-off finals against Real Madrid at the Palau Blaugrana.
When it was time to play, though, Lorbek didn't stay away.
The Slovenia international, who will be a leading player at next year's EuroBasket when his country hosts the Final Round, played almost 28 minutes and had 10 points and six rebounds to help Barca grind out a 73-69 victory.
Barcelona defended their title, and Lorbek was named MVP of the finals.
Real Madrid had blown Barcelona out in Game 3 in the Spanish capital to take a 2-1 lead but Pablo Laso's side wasn't able to stop the Catalans in Game 4 and lost, 81-75, with Lorbek pouring in 24 points.
Lorbek made sure to praise Madrid, who had an outstanding season in which they won the Copa del Rey.
"Congratulations also to Real Madrid," Lorbek said.
"They played very well.
"It was a very hard final but the key was to be able to play the last game at home."
Had Lorbek not been named MVP, CJ Wallace would have been deserving.
After scoring 16 points, corralling six rebounds and swatting three shots in the pivotal Game 4, he had five points and eight rebounds in Game 5.
The other Barcelona player who played like a man possessed on Saturday was Fran Vazquez.
The center had 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Real Madrid had an almighty struggle just to stay in the game and were it not for the brilliant performance by Sergio Llull, they might have lost more decisively.
Llull scored 12 points, most of them on drives to the basket in the second half.
Jaycee Carroll kept Real Madrid's hopes alive when he buried a late three-pointer to cut the Barca lead to 68-65.
Madrid had to foul to stop the clock and they put Pete Mickael on the line.
The American made both attempts for a five point advantage.
Kyle Singler then buried a three from the right corner to cut the deficit to 70-68 with six seconds to play.
Madrid again fouled Mickael and this time, he made just one of two.
Barcelona decided to foul Sergio Rodriguez with just under three seconds remaining, so as not to allow him to attempt a potential game-tying three-ball.
Rodriguez made the first free-throw but intentionally missed the second.
However, Madrid were called for entering the lane too early and Barcelona received possession.
The visitors fouled Wallace and he made the two free-throws for the 73-69 final result.