2019-20Regular SeasonRound 21
January 23, 2020 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Mirotic leads Barcelona to home win

FC Barcelona registered its first home win in 2020 by downing Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 86-82 at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday. Barcelona improved to 15-6 in the standings, while Zvezda dropped to 9-12. Nikola Mirotic led the winners with 25 points and Brandon Davies added 10 for Barcelona. Lorenzo Brown scored 15 to pace the Zvezda attack, Kevin Punter added 13 and Vladimir Stimac and James Gist each had 12 for the visitors. Mirotic had 14 first-quarter points and got help from Kyle Kuric and Victor Claver to give Barcelona a 29-19 lead after 10 minutes. Gist and Stimac stepped up for Zvezda and helped the visitors get the lead, 41-42, at halftime. Davies and Kuric rescued Barcelona after the break, giving the hosts a 60-55 margin. Punter nailed consecutive three-pointers in an 0-11 run that allowed Zvezda to get a 62-66 edge after 30 minutes. Alex Abrines and Pierre Oriola led a 10-0 run that put Barcelona ahead for good, 77-70. Zvezda managed to get within 79-78, but Mirotic and Pau Ribas each hit a triple in crunch time to seal Barcelona's win.

Ognjen Kuzmic and Ognjen Dobric got Zvezda going and Borisa Simanic struck from downtown for a 2-7 Zvezda lead. Kuzmic kept pushing the visitors with a put-back basket and Brown added a driving layup, but Kuric kept Barcelona close. Mirotic found his first points and Davies tied the game with a tip-in, 11-11. Claver scored down low, igniting a 7-0 run that Mirotic capped with a fast break slam to give Barcelona an 18-13 lead. Brown dunked off a steal, but Barcelona kept running its offense through Mirotic, who singlehandedly boosted his team's lead to 23-15. Tomic hit a jump hook and Claver followed a layup with a dunk for a double-digit Barcelona lead, 29-19, after 10 minutes. Cory Higgins scored in the paint early in the second quarter. Brown matched that with a coast-to-coast layup, opening a 0-8 run highlighted by a Gist dunk that brought Zvezda within 31-27. Higgins rescued Barcelona with consecutive layups, but Stimac and Gist drew Zvezda within 35-31. After Ribas and Gist traded triples, Stimac hit a jumper which prompted the hosts to stop the game at 38-36. Charles Jenkins hit a jumper and Stimac bettered him with a three-pointer to complete Zvezda's comeback, 39-42. Mirotic hit a jumper to fix the halftime score at 41-42.

Kuric and Claver each hit a three-pointer after the break, but so did Dobric and Billy Baron for a 47-48 Zvezda lead. Mirotic scored down low and fed Davies for a three-point play in a 7-0 run that restored a 54-48 Barcelona lead. Gist rescued Zvezda with a power basket and a dunk-and-foul. Jenkins added a jumper to give Zvezda hope at 60-58. Punter nailed back-to-back triples in an 0-11 run that Nikola Jovanovic capped to give the visitors a 60-66 lead, which Ante Tomic cut to 62-66 after 30 minutes. Kuzmic dunked early in the fourth quarter, but Oriola did better with a bomb from downtown and Tomic sank a jumper for a 67-68 Barcelona deficit. Punter downed a mid-range jumper but Barcelona found new scorers as Abrines and Malcolm Delaney combined for 7 points in a 10-0 run that caused Zvezda to stop the game at 77-70. Brown silenced the crowd with a huge dunk-and-foul and Stimac struck from beyond the arc to give Zvezda hope at 77-76. Delaney stepped up with a driving layup that Brown matched with a dunk. Mirotic sank a critical three-pointer and Ribas copied him soon after that to seal the outcome, 86-80, with 48.1 seconds remaining.

Pivotal performer

Once again, Nikola Mirotic made the difference for Barcelona with his all-around scoring skills and determination. He finished the game with 25 points on 8-of-12 two-point shooting, 1-of-6 on three-pointers and 6-of-7 free throws. He added 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 25.

Game-changing moment

Zvezda got within 79-78 late in the game but Mirotic, who had missed all of his 5 three-point shots until then, struck from beyond the arc. Pau Ribas split free throws and soon added his own three-pointer from the right wing that sealed the outcome, 86-80, in the final minute. Two well-selected shots allowed Barcelona to make the difference down the stretch.

Stellar stat

The game came down to small details and even though three-point shots made the difference down the stretch, the two-point shooting difference was important. Barcelona hit 24 of 39 two-pointers (61.5%). Zvezda took more shots (42) but made less (23) than its opponents (54.8%).

Did you notice?

Vladimir Stimac made 2 three-point shots in this game. It was the first time that Stimac made multiple three-pointers in his 104-game EuroLeague career. In fact, Stimac had only made 2 three-point shots in his entire EuroLeague career - one against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne earlier this season and another with FC Bayern Munich against Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul on November 13, 2014. Stimac is now 4 of 13 from downtown in his EuroLeague career.

Next game

Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Barcelona takes on Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday, January 30. Zvezda welcomes Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Friday night.

Nikola Mirotic - FC Barcelona - EB19
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Euroleague.net
Referees: LATISEVS, OLEGS; PASTUSIAK, PIOTR; SHEMMESH, SEFFI
Attendance: 5427 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona29122124
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade19232416
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona29416286
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade19426682
FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 20:13 10 4/5   2/3 2 1 3 2 2   1   3 3 16
5 RIBAS, PAU 17:49 7 0/1 2/3 1/2 1 2 3 3 1 1     1 2 11
8 HANGA, ADAM 7:36           2 2 2 1 2         3
10 SMITS, ROLANDS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 18:18 6   2/2   1 1 2 1     1   3   7
21 ABRINES, ALEX 20:59 5 1/2 1/3   1   1     1     2 1 1
22 HIGGINS, CORY 12:37 6 3/5   0/1       1       1 2 2 3
23 DELANEY, MALCOLM 24:35 4 2/2 0/3         5 2 3     3 1 3
24 KURIC, KYLE 21:04 8 1/2 2/5     4 4 1   1     2   6
30 CLAVER, VICTOR 15:20 9 3/4 1/1   1 1 2 1         2   9
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 26:37 25 8/12 1/6 6/7 1 5 6 1 1 3     1 6 25
44 TOMIC, ANTE 14:52 6 2/6   2/2 2 2 4 1 2 2       2 9
Team           2 3 5               5
Totals 200:00 86 24/39 9/23 11/15 11 21 32 18 9 13 2 1 19 17 98
        61.5% 39.1% 73.3%
Head coach: PESIC, SVETISLAV
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
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 KUZMIC, OGNJEN 13:30 8 4/6     2 1 3               9
00 PUNTER, KEVIN 29:18 13 2/6 2/5 3/4 1 1 2 4   2   1   4 12
4 BROWN, LORENZO 28:17 15 7/9 0/4 1/1   2 2 8 4 6     2 4 19
5 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 BARON, BILLY 23:23 3 0/5 1/3     2 2 2   1     1   -2
13 DOBRIC, OGNJEN 15:11 7 1/1 1/3 2/2   1 1 1         1 3 9
15 GIST, JAMES 22:38 12 3/4 1/1 3/4 4 2 6 1 1 1     4 4 17
22 JENKINS, CHARLES 24:49 6 3/3 0/1   1 2 3 1 1       3 1 8
28 SIMANIC, BORISA 7:13 3   1/1             1     2    
32 JOVANOVIC, NIKOLA 9:11 3     3/4   1 1     1     2 2 2
91 STIMAC, VLADIMIR 26:30 12 3/8 2/2   1 3 4 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 10
Team           2 4 6               6
Totals 200:00 82 23/42 8/20 12/15 11 19 30 18 7 14 1 2 17 19 90
        54.8% 40% 80%
Head coach: SAKOTA, DRAGAN

Head Coaches

PESIC, SVETISLAV
FC Barcelona
"We started really well, with concentration, making good decisions on offense and being aggressive. After the first quarter, we led by 10 points, 29-19, and like in some games before, in the moment that we were playing excellent, then we started to find Magic Johnson passes, assists, and we made 5 turnovers in 4 minutes. We gave Zvezda the chance to come back in the game. One more time, we showed that it is very dangerous to underestimate a player or a team. In the EuroLeague, all the teams are at a high level. They are ready to fight, especially against us here in Palau. This is what we should learn. This is the big assignment for us to take the next step. On the positive side, we had a good reaction. We gave Zvezda the chance and Zvezda took this chance. They played excellent basketball and moved the ball. Everybody is surprised, but like always, we were lucky that basketball is four times 10 minutes. We played very good defense, especially Oriola and Abrines, in the crucial moments of the game. This is the reason we won the last quarter and finished the game how we started it. A win is always positive but like I said, there is not a team you can underestimate, especially direct opponents. It is very dangerous at a professional level, especially if you play in the EuroLeague. We know that everyone thinks that we just have to step on court and win the game. This is impossible. At the professional level, you have to give your best at that moment and especially, not underestimate anyone. We saw how they started to believe and played great basketball. I am sure if we had a little bit of luck or we played well in the moments when the game was decided, in the fourth quarter. I am not sure of that, but I have to say that Oriola and Abrines played great defense. Not only they gave us energy but also played great defense against Baron, their best shooter, and Punter after that. Abrines played excellent and Oriola hit 2 three-point shots, Pau Ribas hit another one down the stretch. They helped the team today and this is why we won."
SAKOTA, DRAGAN
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
"First of all, congratulations to Barcelona. I think it was a very interesting game that people could enjoy, it was a very tight game. For us, we had one problem to handle, the energy and the number of players. Of course, we had the opportunity to make an even better result if we played better defense in the end, in crucial moments. We received a couple of three-point shots at the end of offense. I am missing five players, who didn't come here for different reasons. There is a problem with viruses and two players - three, actually - injuries and another problem with the visa for one player. That is why we didn't have enough players in our rotation and obviously, in the end, they were tired. When you are tired, you don't play good defense and don't make good decisions on offense. That is my own impression. To be honest, Perperoglou came only to fill the roster because we had 10 players. He started to practice with the team two days ago. We decided it is the time for him to start playing but to be with the team, warm-up, travel with the team - yes. That is the reason why he was here."

Players

MIROTIC, NIKOLA
FC Barcelona
"I started well. I tried to be very aggressive from the beginning. But I always say that when I make shots, it is all about my teammates. It is all about them because they find me. They are looking for me in the best situations where I feel comfortable. It was a great team effort tonight. Even though Zvezda played a terrific game tonight, we played good defense in the second and third quarters. In the end, it was important for us to win back home. Each game for us is very important, especially when we play at home. We were struggling before but now, we are back on track. The team is playing comfortable, even with a lot of injuries we have been having so far. We just need to keep working. It is a process and I think we are in a good way. Thanks to the fans tonight for all their support. We are looking forward to playing again here at home."
DAVIES, BRANDON
FC Barcelona
"I think we just changed our defensive mindset. I personally tried to bring the intensity up on the defensive end at the start of the second half. I think that the rest of the guys followed that and we did a good job of it."