ANDhe FC Barcelona returned to compete officially after a ten-day break and did so convincingly, getting rid by 87-74 of a TD Systems Baskonia that only lasted the first twenty minutes (41-39). Leandro Bolmaro, author of 18 points and 4 triples, was in charge of opening the gap at the beginning of the last quarter and facilitating a very comfortable end of the game for Jasikevicius’ team. The Lithuanian coach was able to take advantage of this circumstance to give field to his 12 players and distribute efforts – only Bolmaro was above 26 minutes – in one more step on the way to the Final Four in Cologne.
With neither team fully depressing the accelerator, the first few minutes unfolded with a balanced exchange of blows. Davies and Mirotic scored Barça’s first 10 points to put them ahead (10-7), but the Baskonians did not yield. Giedraitis lit the fuse with six consecutive points, Diop fanned the flame with a triple, and the free throws warned of a first fire (15-21, min. 9). A triple by Bolmaro and another by Mirotic in the last 42 seconds would leave things in a draw at the end of the first period (21-21).
The match entered a more defensive phase at the beginning of the second quarter. The locals maintained a certain rhythm in attack thanks to the points of Gasol and Bolmaro (28-26, mon 14), but soon they got stuck in attack without finding second chances at the rival ring either. The Baskonians, assured the rebound and hand in hand with the best version of Colom since his signing, again took a slight advantage (32-37). Jasikevicius, not happy with the intensity level of his – 4 free throws in front of the 14 visitors up to that moment -, stopped the game with a time-out and reactivated the Blaugrana circuit. A step forward in defense and the attacking quality of Davies, Mirotic and Higgins turned the score around at intermission (41-39).
The culés, even without being able to demolish the Vitorian wall, were able to maintain the lead thanks to the success from the triple. Abrines, Bolmaro and Higgins added one each to put a 50-47 after 24 minutes, a prelude to the first Baskonia blackout. The bad percentages and the first symptoms of fatigue were taken advantage of by Barcelona to increase the pace and sign an 8-0 run that was enough to enter the final stretch of the match with a sufficiently comfortable mattress (65-58, min.30 )
Two daggers from an unleashed Bolmaro from beyond the line of three gave the Blagrana the first double-digit advantage as soon as the game resumed (71-60, m.32). Although Ivanovic reacted quickly with a time-out, the signals shown in the previous quarter would be strongly confirmed in favor of the locals. An increasingly comfortable Barcelona, ??increasingly dominating in the physical aspect, and with much more success outside, gradually opened the gap until reaching an 84-67 with more than 3 minutes to play. Jasikevicius took the opportunity to rotate and distribute minutes among all his men, seeing that the Baskonia had definitely run out of oxygen.
87 – Barça (21 + 20 + 24 + 22): Calathes (5), Higgins (7), Abrines (6), Mirotic (15), Davies (11) -starting five-, Bolmaro (18), Smits (7), Oriola (2), Claver (-), Hanga (5), Gasol (8) and Kuric (3)
74 – TD Systems Baskonia (21 + 18 + 19 + 16): Henry (13), Massenat (5), Sedekerskis (12), Giedraitis (14), Jekiri (7) -starting five-, Diop (7), Colom (5), Peters (5), Deagic (4) and Kurucs (two).
Referees: Óscar Perea, Luis Miguel Castillo, Vicente Martínez. Without eliminated.
Incidents: match of matchday 37 of the Endesa League played without an audience at the Palau Blaugrana.
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