Barcelona rallies past Baskonia
FC Barcelona registered its fourth consecutive win by downing TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 71-72 at Buesa Arena on Friday. Baskonia led 71-61 with 3 minutes left but Barcelona improved its defense while Mirotic, Kyle Kuric, Davies and Abrines fueled a 0-12 run that put the guests ahead, 71-72. It all came down to the final play, when Alec Peters took on a mid-range shot which was blocked by Mirotic as the home team failed to score in the final four minutes. Mirotic led the winners with 18 points. Brandon Davies added 12 while Alex Abrines had 10 for Barcelona. Zoran Dragic led Baskonia with 15 points. Achille Polonara added 14, Youssoupha Fall had 11 and Tonye Jekiri 10. Barcelona improved to 5-1 while Baskonia dropped to 2-2.
Rolands Smits got Barcelona going with a jump hook but Rokas Giedraitis and Dragic gave Baskonia a 7-5 lead. Cory Higgins and Davies soon allowed Barcelona to get its first lead, 7-9. Mirotic came off the bench and scored three consecutive baskets to make Baskonia call timeout at 10-15. Luca Vildoza struck from downtown and Pierria Henry scored twice around the basket but Kuric and Leo Bolmaro restored a 17-20 Barcelona lead. A coast-to-coast layup by Dragic fixed the score at 19-20 after 10 minutes. Mirotic kept pacing the guests with a three-point play early in the second quarter. Henry and Nick Calathes traded driving baskets, and Jekiri scored down low for a 23-25 Baskonia deficit. Adam Hanga scored in transition and Pierre Oriola hit a jump hook that made it a six-point game, 23-29. Fall followed a tip-in with a dunk but Thomas Heurtel banked in a floater and Hanga added an alley-oop slam. Heurtel and Abrines downed three-pointers but Fall dunked again, getting help from Polonara and Henry to keep Baskonia within 37-39 at halftime. Davies dunked off a steal before Dragic and Mirotic traded triples, and Davies beat the shot clock with a jumper that gave Barcelona a 40-46 edge. Vildoza buried a jumper and Dragic brought Baskonia closer and Fall netted a three-point play, but Mirotic stepped up with consecutive put-back baskets and Oriola added a layup for a 48-56 Barcelona lead. Jekiri, Dragic and Polonara cut that to 56-58 after 30 minutes, and Polonara followed a layup with a triple to give Baskonia a 61-58 lead early in the fourth quarter. Jekiri downed a mid-range jumper, Dragic added a layup and Polonara capped a huge 17-0 run with a huge put-back slam that made Barcelona stop the game at 69-58. Abrines rescued the guests with a three-pointer, getting help from Mirotic and Kuric to give Barcelona hope at 71-65. Davies scored in the paint and fed Kuric for a triple that made it a one-point game, 71-70, with 52.6 seconds left. Abrines dunked off a steal to complete Barcelona's comeback, 71-72. Baskonia had a chance to win the game but Henry missed around the basket and Mirotic blocked Peters's shot at the buzzer.
Nikola Mirotic returned to action, coming off the bench to make the difference. He finished the game with 18 points on 7-of-10 two-point shots, adding 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and the game-sealing block down the stretch. A truly all-around performance.
Baskonia led by 10 points with just over 3 minutes remaining and had the chance to extend that lead but Zoran Dragic was off the mark with his two-point attempt. 10 seconds later Mirotic sparked a comeback that would eventually end up with the away team triumphing as Baskonia failed to score again.
Both teams were close in every aspect of the game. Baskonia had 21 turnovers and Barcelona limited those to 18. Barcelona also had slightly better percentages from downtown (33.3%, Baskonia 27.8%) and especially from the foul line (80%, Baskonia 66.7%). Those small details made the difference down the stretch.
On Thursday, November 5. Baskonia hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne at 20:30 CET, as Jekiri faces his former team for the first time. Barcelona visits ALBA Berlin, featuring former coach Aito Garcia Reneses and former player Marcus Eriksson, at 19:00 CET.
Friday, October 30, 2020