The Barcelona is more leader of the Euroleague with two margin victories over their pursuers after winning (71-57) at the Palau al Baskonia in a strange game, with a first half that both teams will take a long time to forget and in which he shone again Nikola Mirotic with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Vitorians did not make it easy for Sarunas Jasikevicius’ team in the third quarter after the 21 points difference that the locals had at the end of the first period.
The locals, without playing a good game and losing 18 balls, ended up taking the game thanks to their individualities and their zonal defense in the last quarter.
The first part was surely one of the strangest in the history of the Euroleague, with Baskonia scoring only four points in the first quarter and Barcelona adding only eight in the second after going 21 points up (27-6, min. 12).
The Baskonia played the worst first quarter in its history with a 2 of 16 shooting from the field and seven lost balls. It is not that Barça started very well, showing problems in the defensive rebound, but when Bolmaro entered the court it was a gale.
A triple from the Argentine base launched his team, which with a 14-0 run went 18-2 (min. 8) after a new basket of three by Mirotic. Fall hit the second Baskonista basket in the last minute and a counterattack from Hanga left the 25-4 of a first room for history.
The Barça decomposed in the second quarter. Baskonia increased their defensive intensity and Henry gave speed to his team’s game. The Catalans were a caricature at the hands of the Vitorians, who made up for lost time.
Youssoupha Fall, with eight points, put Baskonia in the match and a partial of 5-22 made the duel start again (30-26, min. 20). The Catalans missed easy shots and finished the first quarter with ten balls to the despair of Jasikevicius.
A two plus one by Nikola Mirotic left Barça with a seven-point advantage at halftime (33-26).
Barça came out toned after the break with Higgins and Abrines successful in the long distance (40-31, min. 23), but the losses of the ball by Calathes against the intense defense of Henry and the success of Giedraitis took the tables to the scoreboard ( 40-40, min 26).
Barça found themselves more comfortable when Fall went to the bench with three fouls. Mirotic and Davies gave air to the Catalans (47-40, min. 29) and Calathes arranged a third quarter to forget about the Greek with a triple that made it 50-45 at the end of the quarter.
The scoring problems reappeared in the Vitoria at the beginning of the last period against the Barça defense. In addition, Baskonia did not close their rebound well, which led to a spectacular dunk from Hanga when catching a rebound in the air (54-47, min. 33).
The Catalans won the game from defense and they left the Baskonistas again with a poor score of 12 points in the fourth quarter. Two consecutive triples by Higgins and Mirotic brought tranquility to the Barça side (65-54, min. 37) just before Ivanovic returned Fall to the game.
Barça insisted on its zonal defense, which continued to collapse the rival attack, and Davies ended up sentencing the game with a basket 1:47 from the conclusion that put an insurmountable 67-54.
71 – FC Barcelona (25+8+17+21): Calathes (7), Higgins (13), Abrines (5), Mirotic (18), Pustovyi (2) -starting team-, Davies (9), Hanga (9), Bolmaro (3), Smits (-), Kuric (5) and Claver (-).
57 – Baskonia (4 + 22 + 19 + 12): Vildoza (-), Giedraitis (11), Sedekerskis (-), Peters (8), Fall (12) -starting team-, Jekiri (6), Henry (9), Dragic (5) and Polonara (6).
Referees: Lamonica (Italy), Radovic (Croatia) and Majkic (Slovenia).
Incidents: Match corresponding to matchday 28 of the Euroleague played without an audience at the Palau Blaugrana in Barcelona.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.