ANDhe FC Barcelona got rid of the thorn of their last two defeats against Bitci Baskonia, taking the Buesa Arena and adding a resounding victory by 77 to 96 in a match that was practically decided a few minutes after the break. Jasikevicius’ men relied on an extraordinary success from the three-point line, adding 14 triples from 31 attempts, to take the initiative in the first quarter, and definitively break it in the third. Laprovittola went 8 of 11 from long distance to finish with 24 points, finding in Brandon Davies (15) and Rolands (12) his perfect squires in the paint. For Baskonia, Costello and Fontecchio finished with 19 and 16, respectively

Although it was Baskonia who took the initiative in the first plays, Jasikevicius’s men were the first to open a first gap. 5 assists from Calathes in the first 5 baskets for FC Barcelona -including two triples from Laprovittola- set a 4-12 lead that caused a first timeout for Spahija. The break did not stop Lapro, who nailed two more triples in a row to dig a 6-18 after just 6 minutes. Kurucs entering the court activated the local defense, while Fontecchio was in charge of closing the gap in attack (16-22, min.10).

With the second units on court, it was Jokubaits who took charge of the match. Well accompanied by Kuric on the perimeter, the Lithuanian led his team to retake a double-digit lead (22-32) midway through the second quarter. Spahija’s men, with little aim abroad -also the result of the good defense from the visitors-, found a respite from the hand -again- of Fontecchio (27-34, min.17), but Jasikevicius was in charge of turning off a possible rebellion with a dead time that Mirotic and Kuric transformed into a 31-42 at halftime.

The festival of triples with which the match resumed benefited the Catalans, who scored 4 without fail -2 from Laprovittola, 1 from Smits and 1 from Mirotic-, against a solitary shot from beyond the line signed by Costello. Thus, Barcelona broke the deck in the blink of an eye (34-54, min.23). Costello tried to hold his own, but Barcelona had already found their rhythm and continued destroying the local hoop three by three. A 2+1 from Smits and two more bombs, one from Laprovittola -his seventh- and another from Sergi Martínez, made it +23 for the current Cup champions (42-65) after 27 minutes. A 10-2 run fueled by Peters’ points allowed the Baskonistas to avoid an early death and reach the last period with some hope (52-67).

An inside basket by Enoch reduced the difference to just 13 points, but Davies reassured his side with 9 straight points – including a stratospheric dunk after stealing – to make it 58-76 with less than 8 minutes remaining. Rolands Smits took over from the North American in attack, shooting the visitor’s lead to 24 points (60-84), turning the last 5 minutes of the match into a mere formality.

Data sheet:

77 – Bitci Baskonia (16+15+21+25): Baldwin (1), Giedraitis (4), Fontecchio (19) and Costello (16) -starting five-, Raieste (-), Barrera (1), Sedekerskis (2), Marinkovic (7), Peters (11), Enoch (10) and Kurucs (4).

96- Barca (22+20+25+29): Laprovittola (24), Calathes (2), Exum (6), Mirotic (14) and Davies (15) -initial five-, Sanli (2), Sergi Martínez (3), Smits (12), Hayes-Davis (2 ), Abrines (3), Kuric (7) and Jokubaitis (6).

Referees: Daniel Hierrezuelo, Rubén Sánchez Mohedas and Joaquín García. They eliminated Smits for personal fouls (min.40).

Incidents: postponed match corresponding to the twentieth day of the Endesa League played at the Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria before 7,119 spectators.

Via Marca.com