Barcelona rallies to triumph in Valencia
FC Barcelona bounced back from last week's loss in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by downing Valencia Basket 66-71 at La Fonteta on Tuesday. Both teams now have 2-1 records in the standings. Rolands Smits led the winners with 15 points, Nick Calathes added 14, Brandon Davies and Alex Abrines each had 11 and Cory Higgins scored 10 for Barcelona, which was without star forward Nikola Mirotic. Nikola Kalinic and Bojan Dubljevic led Valencia with 13 points apiece. A 0-16 run that bridged the final two quarters allowed Barcelona to take control of the game for good.
Smits got Barcelona going with a layup, but Dubljevic and Derrick Williams soon gave Valencia its first lead, 4-2. Smiths buried a triple and added a running hook, but Dubljevic singlehandedly kept the hosts ahead, 11-9. Klemen Prepelic followed a fast-break layup with a floater and Higgins and Williams traded three-pointers. Calathes kept the guests close at 19-16 after 10 minutes. Abrines tied the game with a bomb from downtown early in the second quarter. Fernando San Emeterio answered from beyond the arc and Mike Tobey matched Calathes's coast-to-coast basket with a layup for a 24-21 Valencia lead. Louis Labeyrie joined the three-point shootout and Sam Van Rossom added a layup, but Smits and Davies brought Barcelona within 29-26. Labeyrie chipped in with a put-back basket and Guillem Vives scored twice in penetration, prompting the guests to call timeout at 35-31. Davies scored down low to fix the halftime score at 35-33.
Back-to-back baskets by Calathes gave Barcelona the lead soon after the break. Vives downed a three-pointer and Kalinic scored off a blocked shot for a 40-37 Valencia edge. Davies and Victor Claver rescued Barcelona and Calathes scored in transition for a 42-43 Barcelona lead. Williams dunked, but Abrines followed a three-pointer with a jumper. Pierre Oriola, Smits and Claver each scored in the paint to make it a double-digit game, 44-54, after 30 minutes. Abrines downed another three-pointer early in the fourth quarter and Oriola dunked to break the game open, 44-59, after a 0-16 run. Van Rossom and Vanja Marinkovic tried to change things for Valencia and Dubjevic capped a 7-0 run with a floater. Calathes scored again and a three-point play by Davies seemed to seal the outcome, 53-64. Kalinic had other ideas, however, as he singlehandedly brought Valencia within 60-66 with less than 3 minutes left. Davies scored down low and Adam Hanga added free throws that sealed a tough road win.
Rolands Smits stepped up in Nikola Mirotic's absence with a career-best performance. Smiths, the 7DAYS EuroCup Rising Star award winner for the 2016-17 season, finished the game with a personal-best 15 points and no missed shots - 3-of-3 shooting inside the arc, 3-of-3 from downtown. He added 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 fouls drawn for a PIR of 23, also a new career-high.
A fast-break dunk by Williams gave Valencia its last lead, 44-43. Barcelona found a go-to guy in Abrines, who scored half of the points in a 0-16 run which he opened with a triple and a jumper. By the time Oriola dunked, Barcelona led 44-59 and was well on its way to a well-deserved victory.
Barcelona shot the ball a little bit better inside the arc and that allowed it to win the game. Barcelona made 23 of 35 two-point shots (65.7%) and limited Valencia to 18-of-34 shooting on attempts inside the arc (52.9%). Calathes made 7 two-point shots, which was more than in Rounds 1 and 2 combined (5).
Did you notice?
Barcelona went to the foul line for the first time with 4:25 left in the game - on a three-point play by Davies. It ended up making 4 free throws, its lowest since sinking 3 in Game 5 of the 2019 Playoffs against Anadolu Efes Istanbul on May 1.
Barcelona returns to EuroLeague action later this week when it takes on Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Thursday, October 15. Valencia's Round 4 game against Zenit St Petersburg will not take place. Multiple players of Zenit St Petersburg have tested positive for COVID-19 and the team does not have at least eight players on the Authorisation List fit to play.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020