2021-22Regular SeasonRound 21
January 13, 2022 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Barcelona sweeps Efes with another thriller

FC Barcelona swept the season series against Anadolu Efes Istanbul as it defeated the reigning champion 82-77 in a rematch of the 2021 championship game to snap a two-game losing streak. Barcelona prevailed in another thriller against Efes after winning in Turkey 93-95 in overtime in Round 13 in early December. Jokubaitis finished with a team-high 16 points while Nikola Mirotic scored 15 points - just 2 in the second half, and Sertac Sanli added 13 points and 7 rebounds in another big game against his former team. Efes dropped to 9-10 with its second straight loss despite Vasilije Micic tallying 18 points in the team’s first EuroLeague game of 2022 - including making 12 of 15 free throws. Shane Larkin collected 17 points and both Bryant Dunston and Krunoslav Simon contributed 12 points in the loss. Efes head coach Ergin Ataman was ejected midway through the third quarter with 2 technicals.

Simon opened the game with a layup and Cory Higgins got the hosts on the board at the other end. Mirotic gave Barcelona its first lead with a stepback three, 7-4. Higgins moved to 6 points and Mirotic added another triple and a three-point play as the Barcelona lead grew to 17-9. Barcelona failed to execute offensively after that, going scoreless in the final 2:55 while Larkin scored 4 points as Efes tallied the final 6 points of the quarter to make it 19-17 after 10 minutes.

Jokubaitis’s free throw started the scoring in the second quarter only to see Efes answer with 4 points to pull back ahead 20-21. Adrien Moerman netted the first three-pointer for Efes, which also got a three-point play from Dunston and a triple from Larkin in extending the advantage to 26-32. Sanli tallied 6 points to keep Barcelona close before Jokubaitis drained a three-pointer to even the game and Mirotic’s putback gave Barcelona the lead, 40-38. Larkin punched right back with a triple and Efes went into the break ahead 40-41.

Sanli and Nicolas Laprovittola hit three-pointers as Barcelona scored the first 6 points of the second half for a 46-41 lead. Micic gave Efes 2 free throws but Kyle Kuric added another triple and then converted free throws after Efes head coach Ergin Ataman was ejected with two straight technicals for a 51-43 advantage. Efes responded with the next 4 points to get within 4. The Barcelona cushion was again 8 after a Jokubaitis three-pointer. The guests scored 5 points at the other end, but Barcelona led 61-56 after 30 minutes.

Simon opened the final period but watched as Laprovittola scored once and assisted on two straight baskets as Barcelona charged ahead 67-58. Efes would not go away with 4 points from Chris Singleton and 2 Micic free throws to get within 3 points. Jokubaitis provided some relief with a three-pointer only to see Larkin’s free throws trim the margin to 70-68. Kuric hit another triple for the hosts, but Efes’s comeback continued as Larkin’s three-pointer made it 73-72 with 4 minutes to play. Jokubaitis managed a tough layup and was followed by a triple from Brandon Davies and a Mirotic inside score for an 80-72 cushion. Singleton scored for Efes and added a free throw following an unsportsmanlike foul by Mirotic with 85 seconds left to make it 80-75. Micic scored a quick basket but Jokubaitis converted another tough layup with 21 seconds left to make it 82-77 and secure the win.

Higgins starting to help more since return

FC Barcelona is still dealing with absences but one player who has returned - and is slowly producing more for the team - is Cory Higgins. The star guard missed nine games of action, sitting out Rounds 9 to 17 and finally came back for the Round 18 game at Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. After playing 8:53 minutes against Baskonia, Higgins was on the court for 16:23 minutes versus AX Armani Exchange Milan. But he had only contributed a combined 3 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block in those games. Against Efes, Higgins collected 9 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 23:35 minutes for an index rating of 13.

Two straight big games for Dunston

Anadolu Efes Istanbul is slowly relying heavier on veteran big man Bryant Dunston. The 35-year-old had only scored more than 7 points once in his first 14 appearances this season with 13 points versus FC Bayern Munich in Round 14. But Dunston finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds in 22:26 minutes against Barcelona after having tallied 15 points and 8 rebounds in Round 18 versus UNICS Kazan - his two longest showings besides the game against Bayern.

Telling numbers: three-pointers tell the tale on both sides

Barcelona came into the game with the number one offense and nearly hit its average of 84.0 points. Coach Saras Jasikevicius’s team drained 10 of 20 three-pointers (50.0%), which improved the number one three-point shooting team’s numbers, having connected on 40.8% thus far. Efes had a shooting night to forget from long range, making just 5 of 26 (19.2%). The reigning champion also came up with just 9 assists and could not take advantage of making 28 of 33 free throws.

Rokas Jokubaitis celebrates - FC Barcelona - EB21
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Euroleague.net
Referees: JAVOR, DAMIR; RYZHYK, BORYS; HORDOV, TOMISLAV
Attendance: 5260 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona19212121
Anadolu Efes Istanbul17241521
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona19406182
Anadolu Efes Istanbul17415677
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 16:10 7 1/4 1/1 2/2   2 2 1     1   3 2 7
1 EXUM, DANTE LIMAN 5:05 1     1/2                 3 1 -2
5 SANLI, SERTAC 18:54 13 3/5 1/3 4/4 5 2 7 1 1 2     3 3 16
8 MARTINEZ, SERGI 13:24 2 1/1 0/1     2 2 1         3 1 2
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 6:19           1 1 1   1         1
14 HAYES-DAVIS, NIGEL 19:31 4 2/3                     3    
20 LAPROVITTOLA, NICOLAS 23:50 5 1/4 1/3     2 2 5 1 3     2 1 4
22 HIGGINS, CORY 23:35 9 2/4 0/1 5/6   1 1 2 1 1 1   1 5 13
24 KURIC, KYLE 22:52 8 0/3 2/3 2/2   6 6 4 1       2 1 14
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 21:00 16 3/6 3/4 1/3   2 2 2   4     1 2 11
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 24:24 15 4/4 2/4 1/1 1 3 4 1   2     4 3 15
46 NNAJI, JAMES 4:56 2 1/1                 1     1 4
Team           2 2 4     2         2
Totals 200:00 82 18/35 10/20 16/20 8 23 31 18 4 15 3 0 25 20 87
        51.4% 50% 80%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
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
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 LARKIN, SHANE 30:50 17 1/3 3/7 6/7 2   2 4 1 2     2 4 17
1 BEAUBOIS, RODRIGUE 20:16 2 1/3 0/4         2 1     1 2   -4
2 SINGLETON, CHRIS 16:09 6 3/4 0/1   1 2 3           2 3 8
6 BRYANT, ELIJAH 5:22   0/1               1         -2
18 MOERMAN, ADRIEN 23:40 6 0/2 2/6   1 4 5 1 2 1     2 2 7
19 TUNCER, BUGRAHAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 PLEISS, TIBOR 17:26 2 1/6 0/2   1 3 4     1   1 2 1 -4
22 MICIC, VASILIJE 24:14 18 3/5 0/3 12/15 1 3 4 1   1   1 4 8 17
23 ANDERSON, JAMES 12:12 2     2/2 3 2 5   2       1 1 9
33 PETRUSEV, FILIP 0:08                         1   -1
42 DUNSTON, BRYANT 22:26 12 3/4   6/7 4 2 6     1     4 4 15
44 SIMON, KRUNOSLAV 27:17 12 5/7 0/3 2/2 1 1 2 1 1 3       1 9
Team           1 4 5     1         4
Totals 200:00 77 17/35 5/26 28/33 15 21 36 9 7 11 0 3 20 24 75
        48.6% 19.2% 84.8%
Head coach: ATAMAN, ERGIN

Head Coaches

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
FC Barcelona

“I thought it was an incredible fight. I think it was very good that we were always up a little bit. I think we could have closed it if we were a little bit smarter at both ends of the court. But at the same time, it’s difficult. Efes is such a good team. Their guards are some of the best in Europe and guys are suffering. Like any of the big games: details in the end. One basket went our way so it’s an important win after those two losses. We never lost confidence in ourselves. We know that we are a good team. Now it’s the time where we get the players back from injuries and COVID and it’s important to keep building and for them to feel part of the team again and them to feel confident. I think as a team, we understand that we have a good team.”

“Congratulations to our players and fans. The win obviously was much needed. I would like to thank our fans. From even before the game until the last whistle they were fantastic - like how Palau knows how to be in the big moments. For my players, they were very tired. We tried to rotate them as much as possible. It was not possible to play close to perfect or perfect but I think it was a good job. Keeping Efes to under 80 points. We would have liked to have controlled the game a little bit more in certain situations - when we go up 9 points or 7 points. But the opponent is a EuroLeague champion and it’s very difficult against them."

 

SEKIZKOK, YAKUP

Assistant Coach Anadolu Efes Istanbul

“It’s never easy to play Barcelona. It’s a tough road game. We came here for a win. This is why we chased them until the end. We missed some open shots. We still had a chance. They scored in the end and that shows we made a mistake on defense. The last possession we had three shots and missed them all. You can’t beat Barcelona if you can’t make open shots. We created, we attacked the open gaps, we attacked their weaknesses and found the shots. But we have to make those shots.”

"It’s always difficult to play against Barcelona - home court or on the road, it doesn’t matter. We knew it would be a tough game, but we came here to win. Our game plan was to stop their strong size and try to create open shots for us, which we had difficulty doing in the first game. I believe we did that tonight but we missed a lot of open shots. We fought until the end with hustle and toughness. We were there. We did a good job on rebounds compared to the first game. But we gave up some three-pointers at the end of the shot clock and then also Jokubaitis’s layup in the final possession. I congratulate Barcelona. They played great and it was a great win for them - in a game with the two finalists from the last Final Four."

Players

SANLI, SERTAC
FC Barcelona
“This kind of big game is really important for us. We lost the last two games and we really needed something like this. We didn’t lose any confidence, but we wanted to try to feel the game, feel the rhythm. And we needed this kind of big win.”
JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS
FC Barcelona
“We needed that win badly. We took the win, everybody is happy. We keep going. Every game in EuroLeague is difficult. We try to fight, we try to win every game. Right now we’re not so good but we got an important win.”