Singleton shines as Barca batters Olympiacos
FC Barcelona Lassa routed Olympiacos Piraeus 55-76 on the road on Thursday to climb ahead of the Reds in the standings. Both teams now have a 12-9 record, but Barcelona ranks fifth due to its tie-break advantage acquired in this game; Olympiacos had won by 9 points at Palau Blaugrana. Chris Singleton led the winners with 18 points. Adam Hanga had 11, Ante Tomic 10 and Kevin Pangos tallied 9 points and 8 assists for Barcelona. Nikola Milutinov and Janis Strelnieks led Olympiacos with 13 points apiece. Barcelona led 6-27 after 10 minutes and kept a safe margin all the way till the final buzzer.
Singleton needed just 10 seconds to strike from downtown. Jaka Blazic added a layup and Tomic sank a turnaround jumper for a 2-7 Barcelona lead. Strelnieks hit a jumper, but Tomic matched it with a jump hook and Blazic downed a stop-and-pop triple that caused Olympiacos to call timeout at 4-12. Pangos took over with a layup-plus-foul, then Singleton and Hanga each hit three-pointers in a 0-13 run that Kevin Seraphin capped with free throws for a 6-27 Barcelona lead after 10 minutes. Olympiacos improved its defense early in the second quarter, while Milutinov and Vassilis Spanoulis scored the opening 9 points in a 15-0 run that Axel Toupane capped with a triple, bringing the hosts within 21-27. Blazic answered from downtown and a floater by Pangos restored a 21-32 Barcelona lead. Nigel Williams-Goss joined the three-point shootout and Georgios Bogris and Printezis scored down low. However, Thomas Heurtel and Pierre Oriola kept Barcelona fully in charge, 28-38, at halftime. Milutinov dunked immediately after the restart, but Tomic answered with a turnaround jumper and Singleton fired in his third triple for a 30-43 Barcelona lead. Williams-Goss and Strelnieks stepped up for Olympiacos only to see Heurtel, Hanga and a red-hot Singleton keep Barcelona fully in charge, 36-50. Singleton downed another three-pointer and added a layup for a 40-55 Barcelona margin, which Strelnieks cut to 43-55 at the third quarter buzzer. Hanga took over with a tip-in early in the fourth quarter and Seraphin scored in the paint for a 16-point Barcelona margin. Hanga and Strelnieks traded floaters and a big basket by Pangos sealed the outcome, 45-63, midway through the fourth quarter. A new battle began for the tie-break advantage, which could be critical at the end of the regular season. Barcelona also took care of that, as by the time Victor Claver hit a three-pointer to make it 49-72, everything was said and done.
A former Panathinaikos Athens player, Chris Singleton knows what it takes to beat Olympiacos on the road and had one of his best games this season. He fired in 5 of 8 three-point shots on his way to 18 points and added 5 rebounds, a steal and 2 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 17.
Barcelona led 6-14 early in the game, but Chris Singleton and Adam Hanga combined for 8 points in a 0-13 run that boosted the visitors' lead to 6-27. Olympiacos, which had an assist and 6 turnovers in the first quarter, never stopped trying, but Barcelona kept full control of the game the rest of the way.
Barcelona limited Olympiacos to just 55 points. That tied the lowest score at home for the Reds in EuroLeague history. Olympiacos was held to 55 points at home once before - against Barcelona, also coached by Svetislav Pesic, on April 10, 2003. Barcelona won that day 55-58.
Did you notice?
Barcelona led by 21 points at the end of the first quarter, 6-27. It was the biggest difference ever by any team against Olympiacos after the opening 10 minutes. The previous high was a 17-point gap, shared by Real Madrid (in the 2013 EuroLeague championship game, 10-27) and Anadolu Efes Istanbul (in the 2012-13 regular season, 30-13).
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Thursday, February 7; Olympiacos visits Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Barcelona hosts Zalgiris Kaunas in a rematch of the 1985 Cup Winners' Cup championship game. That marked Barcelona's first European title and Zalgiris's first continental final.
Thursday, January 31, 2019