Red-hot Barcelona routs Baskonia
FC Barcelona Lassa continued its winning ways by downing fellow Spanish side KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 77-67 on Thursday night at Palau Blaugrana. This victory was the third straight for Barcelona and its eighth in the last 10 games, giving it a season-sweep over Baskonia and a 14-9 record for the fifth place in the standings. Baskonia dropped to 11-12 and ninth place. Barcelona took control from the start and behind its defense built a 25-point margin midway through the second quarter. The hosts never allowed Baskonia to get within single digits again. Kevin Seraphin and Pau Ribas scored 15 points apiece and Thomas Heurtel had 11 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds in victory. Shavon Shields scored 18 and Darrun Hilliard had 12 for Baskonia.
Barcelona took control from the start with a 10-0 run, fueled by two baskets from Ante Tomic and a triple apiece from Chris Singleton and Kevin Pangos, to open a 14-4 lead. Luca Vildoza scored twice for Baskonia, which struggled to get open shots against Barcelona's defense, while Seraphin got it going inside and Ribas hit a triple that had Barcelona up 22-9 after 10 minutes. Matt Janning hit a three-pointer for the visitors and Shields had one, too, but Heurtel kept feeding Seraphin, who strung together 9 points, and Ribas hit 2 more triples to open a 37-17 margin. A three-pointer from Pierre Oriola helped extend the difference to 44-19 with 4 minutes to go in the half. A three-pointer from Janning helped cut it to 46-26 at halftime. Shields had a fastbreak layup and a triple that made it 50-33 in the third. Baskets were few and far between and Heurtel's floater ended a 5-minute field goal drought by Barcelona, but a transition triple from Huertas started a 0-9 run that was capped by Johannes Voigtmann's alley-oop dunk that made it 54-44 with 3 minutes left in the quarter. But Barcelona did not allow another field goal until the end of the quarter and Ribas hit a triple and a long jumper to make it 62-45 going into the fourth. Huertel's shot from way downtown helped create a commanding 69-47 advantage and Barcelona was on its way to victory. Baskonia put together a late 2-10 run behind Jalen Jones, but the visitors never seriously threatened.
Lethal French connection
Thomas Heurtel and Kevin Seraphin were unstoppable in the first half. Heurtel repeatedly fed Seraphin inside and the big man scored 15 points in the first two quarters on 6-for-7 two-point shooting. The rest of the team was 3-for-13 on two-pointers before halftime. Seraphin did not score again after the break, but Heurtel kept orchestrating Barcelona's offense and finished with 9 assists.
How dominant was Barcelona in the first half? At one point midway through the second quarter, Barcelona had a team total performance index rating 40 and Baskonia was at negative-3.
Baskonia caught the momentum midway through the third quarter and used a 0-9 run to get within 54-44. But the visitors did not score a field goal in the final 3 minutes of the quarter and Barcelona used Pau Ribas shots to regain a 17-point advantage and get out of a tricky situation.
Did you catch?
This marked the first EuroLeague sweep for Barcelona over Baskonia since the 2012-13 season. Before two Barcelona wins this season, it was Baskonia that had won seven straight EuroLeague clashes in this rivalry.
In Round 24 next week, both teams will be at home. Baskonia welcomes Zalgiris Kaunas while Barcelona hosts its archrival Real Madrid.
Thursday, February 21, 2019