Barca runs past ALBA in Berlin
FC Barcelona extended its winning streak to five games as it blew past a depleted ALBA Berlin 67-103 on Thursday night in the German capital. Barcelona improved to 6-1 in the standings to remain with at least a share of the lead through Round 7, while ALBA dropped to 1-4 on the season. Barcelona took control in the first quarter behind the play of Nick Calathes and Nikola Mirotic and three-point shots from Alex Abrines. The margin grew to 20 points at halftime, as Barcelona shot high percentages for two and three-points and cruised to victory. Mirotic finished with 18 points in 18 minutes and Alex Abrines had 17 points on 5-for-6 three-point shooting in 17 minutes. Rolands Smits collected 13 points plus 8 rebounds, Pierre Oriola had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, Cory Higgins scored 11 points and Nick Calathes had 12 assists in 18 minutes in the victory. Simone Fontecchio scored 17 points for ALBA, Ben Lammers had 12 points and Luke Sikma posted 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in a losing effort.
Barcelona attacked the rim early through Abrines and Higgins, but back-to-back triples from Fontecchio and Niels Giffey helped ALBA open a 10-8 lead. However, Barcelona answered with a second chance three-pointer from Abrines, followed by a pair of layups from Mirotic in sparking a 0-9 run. Lammers strung together 6 points for the hosts, but Abrines hit triples on three consecutive possessions - all on Calathes assists - to open a 16-26 margin. The visitors led 18-30 after 10 minutes. Sikma's put-back and Jayson Granger's transition triple cut it to 23-32 early in the second quarter. Smits and Marcus Eriksson traded triples, as ALBA tried running the floor and increasing the pace of the game to get its offense going. But Calathes kept feeding his teammates, as Kyle Kuric nailed back-to-back threes for the visitors and Mirotic scored inside before Higgins knocked down a last-second triple to make it 36-56 at halftime.
Brandon Davies and Mirotic increased the margin to 38-62 in the third, but Fontecchio scored 7 points, including a basket-plus-foul to get ALBA going offensively. Calathes found Mirotic inside and Abrines for another shot behind the arc, before a three-pointer from Thomas Heurtel increased the margin to 47-77 late in the third quarter. Lammers had a dunk to make it 51-79 at the end of the third. Kuric and Fontecchio traded triples to open the fourth. Lammers hit a jumper, too, but Barcelona never lifted its foot off the gas pedal, with Oriola and Heurtel increasing the margin to the final 36 points.
Sharing the ball
Barcelona finished the game with 31 assists, the most any team has had this season and the most for Barcelona since it dished 32 in a road win over Khimki Moscow Region in December 2017.
Calathes club record
Heading into this game, Barcelona players dished 10 or more assists in a single game just 15 times this century. Calathes needed just 12:31 minutes in the first half to reach 10 assists, then had 2 more assists in the third quarter to tie the club record with 12 assists. Thomas Heurtel was the first to record 12 assists for Barcelona; he did so in October 2018.
Barcelona made 28 of 38 two-point shots (73.7%), which marked the club's fifth-best two-point accuracy in a game this century. Barcelona was especially efficient in the first three quarters: the visitors shot 20 of 26 for two, and 10 of 15 for three-pointers through 30 minutes.
Barcelona had 22 missed shots in the game, but still pulled down 11 offensive rebounds. The visitors had 43 total rebounds, almost twice as many as ALBA, which finished with 22.
ALBA had a shortened rotation, missing point guards Peyton Sive and Maodo Lo, and big men Johannes Thiemann and Louis Olinde.
Next week in Round 8 both teams will play on Thursday, November 12. ALBA will travel to face Olympiacos Piraeus, while Barcelona will host Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
Thursday, November 5, 2020