Barcelona thrashes ALBA at home
FC Barcelona had a solid start to the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season by downing ALBA Berlin 96-64 in front of 3,000 fans at Palau Blaugrana on Friday. In its first EuroLeague home game with fans since March 2020, Barcelona welcomed them back with a no-doubt-about-it victory. Nikola Mirotic led the winners with 22 points on a perfect shooting night. Rokas Jokubaitis added 12 for Barcelona. Luke Sikma led ALBA with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Maodo Lo added 12 points for the guests. Nikola Mirotic and Nick Calathes each had 5 points in a 12-2 opening run. Barcelona kept excelling on offense to boost its margin to 28-15 after 10 minutes and then again to 50-28 at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as an unstoppable Mirotic allowed Barcelona to get a 56-29 margin and the hosts kept a comfortable lead until the final buzzer.
Calathes followed a triple with a driving layup in a 7-0 opening run for Barca. Sikma stepped up with a put-back layup and Yovel Zoosman scored in transition but an unstoppable Mirotic boosted Barcelona's lead to 14-4. Lo banked in a running shot and Sikma hit a floater for ALBA but Barcelona kept attacking the rim as Nigel Hayes-Davis, Brandon Davies and Sertac Sanli all scored down low for a 20-8 margin. Louis Olinde tried to change things for ALBA, getting help from Tim Schneider to bring the guests a bit closer, 25-15. Kyle Kuric struck from downtown to fix the score at 28-15 after 10 minutes. Jokubaitis took over with an up-and-under layup early in the second quarter and followed Rolands Smits's layup with a three-pointer that broke the game open, 35-15, after a 10-0 run. ALBA found a go-to guy in Lo, who brought his team within 39-22. Cory Higgins sank a triple and Davies added a power layup to restore a 44-24 Barcelona margin. Davies scored again and found Mirotic for a backdoor layup, good for a 50-29 Barcelona lead at halftime.
Mirotic struck twice from beyond the arc right after the break. Sikma and Zoosman tried to change things for ALBA but Mirotic insisted from downtown for a 59-35 Barcelona margin. Sikma and Davies traded layups, then Tamir Blatt and Malte Delow each hit three-pointers to bring ALBA within 63-46 after 30 minutes. Barcelona found a new go-to guy in Smits, who scored twice in the paint. Jaleen Smith and Jonas Mattisseck each nailed a three-pointer to give the guests hope, 67-53, with 7 minutes left. Jokubaitis joined the three-point shootout and added a couple of driving layups to keep Barcelona out of trouble, 74-56. Nothing changed after that, as Barcelona cruised to a very convincing home win.
Nikola Mirotic pleased his fans in their return to Palau Blaugrana in a EuroLeague game with an outstanding performance. He finished the game with 22 points on 4-of-4 two-pointers, 4-of-4 three-pointers and 2-of-2 free throws. Mirotic added 5 rebounds, an assist, a steal and 2 fouls drawn for a PIR of 31 – all in less than 18 minutes.
Barcelona rolled since the very beginning of the game, but made the difference midway through the first half. Kyle Kuric hit a three-pointer for a 28-15 margin after 10 minutes, igniting a 10-0 run in which Rokas Jokubaitis added a layup and a bomb from downtown. That run allowed Barcelona to get a 35-15 margin and gave the hosts full control of the game.
Barcelona had stellar shooting percentages in Round 1, hitting 61.0% of its two-point shots (25-of-41) and 66.7% from downtown (14-of-21). It finished the game with 28 assists and just 14 turnovers. On the other hand, ALBA shot the ball poorly (40.5% 2FG, 29.6% 3FG) and was outrebounded by 41-27.
Did you know?
Sikma set a new ALBA club record for most offensive rebounds, pulling down 7 tonight. The previous record was shared by Yassin Idbihi (2013), Blagota Sekulic (2009), Immanuel McElroy (2008) and Jovo Stanojevic (2002), who all had grabbed 6 offensive rebounds for ALBA .
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Barcelona visits FC Bayern Munich on Thursday, October 7 at 20:30 CET. A day later, ALBA hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in the German capital.
Friday, October 1, 2021