2017-18Regular SeasonRound 27
March 21, 2018 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALACIO DE DEPORTES JOSE MARIA MARTIN CARPENA

Diez shines as Unicaja keeps playoff hopes alive

Unicaja Malaga kept its slim playoff hopes alive by defeating FC Barcelona Lassa 95-91 at home on Wednesday. Unicaja improved to 11-16 in the standings – three wins behind eighth-place Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz with three games remaining, while Barcelona dropped to 9-17. Dani Diez led Unicaja with a career-high 21 points, Nemanja Nedovic added 13, Sasu Salin scored 11 and James Augustine got 10 for Unicaja. Ante Tomic led Barcelona with 22 points and 11 rebounds, Edwin Jackson and Petteri Koponen each added 13 points, Adrien Moerman had 12 and Thomas Heurtel tallied 11 points and 10 assists for the guests. Barcelona led 58-65 late in the third quarter, but Ray McCallum and Diez each had 8 points in a 24-3 charge that Carlos Suarez capped with a layup for a 82-68 lead with seven minutes left. Barcelona rallied to within 89-87, but free throws by Nedovic and Suarez allowed Unicaja to put the victory on ice.

Tomic got Barcelona going with a jump hook that Adam Waczynski bettered with a three-pointer. Koponen and Victor Claver each struck from downtown, but a layup by Nedovic kept Unicaja within 5-8. Adrien Moerman took over with a layup-plus-foul, igniting a 0-9 run that Heurtel capped with back-to-back triples that made it a double-digit game, 5-17. Waczynski and Diaz each hit from beyond the arc and a layup by Jeff Brooks kept Unicaja within 15-19. Waczynski and Nedovic kept pacing the hosts but back-to-back jumpers by Jackson and Koponen, followed by a buzzer-beating layup by Pierre Oriola, gave Barcelona a 19-25 lead after 10 minutes. Oriola scored again early in the second quarter and back-to-back jumpers by Juan Carlos Navarro caused Unicaja to call timeout at 23-31. Sasu Salin and Diez combined for 7 points in a 9-0 run that put Unicaja in charge, 32-31. Moerman hit a triple, but Augustine scored twice around the basket, Salin downed a triple and Diez added two more for a 45-39 Unicaja lead. Tomic followed a three-point play with a layup and Navarro erased Dragan Milosavljevic's circus shot with a 'bomba' to fix the halftime score at 49-46.

Moerman scored around the basket after the break, Tomic hit free throws and Koponen added a three-pointer for a 51-53 Barcelona lead. Nedovic scored in penetration, but back-to-back triples by Jackson and a layup by Tomic caused Unicaja to stop the game at 53-61. Diez, McCallum and Salin each hit a triple, allowing Unicaja to get a 76-68 margin after 30 minutes. Diez scored again, McCallum hit free throws and a put-back layup by Suarez capped a 24-3 run, giving his team an 82-68 margin. Moerman, Jackson and Tomic tried to change things for Barcelona and a jumper by Heurtel gave Barcelona hope at 89-83 with less than three minutes left. Moerman dunked off a steal and free throws by Tomic and Heurtel made it a 2-point game with a minute left. Nedovic and Suarez hit foul shots, which allowed Unicaja to seal the outcome.

Daniel Diez celebrates - Unicaja Malaga - EB17
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Euroleague.net
Referees: LOTTERMOSER, ROBERT (GER), BOLTAUZER, MATEJ (SLO), BAUMANIS, INGUS (LAT)
Attendance: 6925
By Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga19302719
FC Barcelona Lassa25212223
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga19497695
FC Barcelona Lassa25466891
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 OKOUO, VINY 11:17 1 0/2   1/2 1 2 3   1 1 2   2 2 3
3 MCCALLUM, RAY 16:36 8 1/4 1/2 3/3   1 1 3         1 3 10
6 SOLUADE, MO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 DIAZ, ALBERTO 23:24 5 1/2 1/3     1 1 4 3 1     5   4
10 SALIN, SASU 16:40 11 1/4 3/5   1   1 2 1 1     2 1 8
11 DIEZ, DANIEL 25:37 21 4/7 4/4 1/1 2 3 5 4   1     2 3 27
12 MILOSAVLJEVIC, DRAGAN 1:19 2 1/1             1         1 4
16 NEDOVIC, NEMANJA 23:20 13 3/6 1/4 4/4   3 3 4   1       6 19
21 WACZYNSKI, ADAM 13:04 8 1/2 2/5   1   1 1         1   5
23 BROOKS, JEFF 21:14 8 4/7 0/1 0/1 3 1 4 1           1 9
40 AUGUSTINE, JAMES 25:36 10 5/8     3 4 7 1 1       2 2 16
43 SUAREZ, CARLOS 21:53 8 2/2 0/4 4/4 2 3 5 2 1 1     2 2 11
Team           1 3 4               4
Totals 200:00 95 23/45 12/28 13/15 14 21 35 22 8 6 2 0 17 21 120
        51.1% 42.9% 86.7%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
FC Barcelona Lassa
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 RIBAS, PAU 16:13     0/2         4   1       1 2
8 PRESSEY, PHIL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 JACKSON, EDWIN 24:11 13 2/4 3/4     1 1           3 2 10
11 NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS 15:02 9 3/6 1/3     2 2 1   2         5
13 HEURTEL, THOMAS 28:12 11 2/3 2/6 1/2   3 3 10 1 2   1 2 3 17
17 KURUCS, RODIONS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 13:47 5 2/5 0/2 1/2 3   3           2 2 2
25 KOPONEN, PETTERI 24:19 13 1/2 3/3 2/2   3 3 4   1     3 2 17
30 CLAVER, VICTOR 23:20 6   2/2     4 4 1   1     5 3 8
44 TOMIC, ANTE 26:13 22 9/11   4/5 3 8 11 2   1     3 3 31
45 MOERMAN, ADRIEN 28:43 12 4/7 1/3 1/1   2 2 1 2 1   1 3 1 8
Team             2 2     1         1
Totals 200:00 91 23/38 12/25 9/12 6 25 31 23 3 10 0 2 21 17 101
        60.5% 48% 75%
Head coach: PESIC, SVETISLAV

Head Coaches

PLAZA, JOAN
Unicaja Malaga
"Logically, we are happy because we won a EuroLeague game, at home, against an opponent like Barcelona. Further than these three facts, we managed to win in the condition we were. The physical condition the team had did not look like we could compete against Barcelona with this level of physical contact. We were able to return from two runs against us, which means that the team did not lose track at any moment. I believe that, in the stats that show effort - steals, rebounds - we were better than them despite our physical condition. We were able to put our will to win first, ahead of their pain, so I am really thankful to my players. Moreover, they shot with better percentages from two and three-point range, we only shot better from the free throw line. That made things difficult, because they were hitting a lot of shots, they had 60% three-point shooting at halftime. Even when we recovered on defense, they were getting comfortable three-point shots. We were able to limit that a bit in the second half, but not enough. We have to have more order in indirect screens to ask for switches. Navarro needs no time to shoot and we all should know that. We allowed some advantages and that did not allow us to compete better. Our is desire to compete until the final day, until we have no chance to qualify to the playoffs. We want to keep competing at the highest level and that is our intention in our next game in Bamberg, Germany."
PESIC, SVETISLAV
FC Barcelona Lassa
"Offensively, both teams played a really good game. I think that, except for the last three minutes of the second quarter, in which we didn't play at our level if you talk about offense, the rest of the game was very good for us: 60% two-point shots, 12 three-pointers with 48% and 23 assists. This is what, let's say, doesn't happen every day, but Unicaja got 14 offensive rebounds. I think this is what made the difference. We even had the chance in the last two minutes to win the game, but they got 2 key offensive rebounds and we missed 2 free throws, but it doesn't matter. I think that until now, for me, as coach of the team, it was a very important game to see what we must improve for the next games. This is important for me and for the players, to take something to learn from this game. Anyway, like I said before, both teams played an excellent game on offense, but defense can be better."

Players

SUAREZ, CARLOS
Unicaja Malaga
"Playing against Barcelona is always special even when none of the teams is fighting for big goals - we have very remote options and they are already out of the competition. We came out to win the game; all sportsmen want to win to keep getting better. We are happy, with good vibrations, hoping to play even better in the future."
DIEZ, DANIEL
Unicaja Malaga
"It was a very important game for us. I had a really good game, like my whole team. We are very happy because we beat Barcelona at home. We have to keep improving to continue playing like this."
JACKSON, EDWIN
FC Barcelona Lassa
"It is tough to win a game on the road when you allow 95 points, so after this, it is almost impossible to win. We knew that Unicaja is really good on the offensive boards and let them have 14 offensive rebounds, which is too much. We shot with great percentages today, yet we didn't win. It is frustrating because we put effort into the game, but we need to be more serious in our game plan."