FC Barcelona has finished atop of the regular season standings and rolled into the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs by playing well on both ends of the floor. Barcelona has been one of the top teams in terms of offense and has boasted the best points-against defense for much of the season
Besides excellence all around, a hallmark of this Barcelona team has been its consistency on both ends of the floor.
As shown in the graph above, Barcelona ranked seventh or better during the regular season in scoring (80.6 ppg.), assists (18.8 apg.), two-point (54.9%) and three-point (39.9%) shooting accuracy, and all three rebounding categories: offensive (10.7 orpg.), defensive (23.6 drpg.) and total (34.3 rpg.).
Barcelona finished in first place by taking care of the business in areas where does the best and improving in others.
Barcelona moves the ball well, ranking fourth in assists, which led to better shots, including the third-ranked three-point percentage going into the playoffs.
The regular season champions quickly improved from ninth to second in defensive rebounds early in the season to remain in the top three the rest of the way, while steadily improving at offensive rebounding, climbing from last-ranked to fourth.
But if Barcelona has been among the best teams offensively, its defensive excellence is what separates it from the rest of the teams.
Barcelona enters the playoffs giving up the fewest points (73.6 ppg.) and the lowest average opponent PIR (77.1) than any EuroLeague team. It is the only team whose opponents missed more than half of their two-point attempts (49.4%), and also ranks first in defending three-pointers, allowing opponents just 34.4% accuracy from the arc.
Its defensive prowess has been evident from day one, too. Barcelona ranked high in most of those above-mentioned categories throughout the season, although it did improve in forcing turnovers (14.1 per game) after a mid-season dip.
Barcelona has not done everything great on defense, as shown by allowing the third-most offensive rebounds, but some of that comes from opponents missing more shots than they do against other teams.
All in all, Barcelona has the numbers to back up its first seeding in the playoffs as it gets ready to host Zenit St Petersburg in Game 1 of their best-of-five series on Wednesday, April 21.