2021-22Regular SeasonRound 17
December 22, 2021 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Barcelona beats UNICS in OT instant classic

In an instant classic, FC Barcelona rallied from 20 down to force overtime and beat UNICS Kazan 111-109 at Palau Blaugrana on Wednesday. Barcelona improved to 15-2 in the standings and reached the regular season's halfway mark in first place, while UNICS dropped to 10-7. Nikola Mirotic led the winners with 28 points, including 3 free throws to tie the game with 15.5 seconds left in regulation. Kyle Kuric added 24, Rokas Jokubaitis had 15, Dante Exum 13 and Nico Laprovittola 12. Lorenzo Brown paced UNICS with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. John Brown III added 21 points, Isaiah Canaan 20, Mario Hezonja 18 and Tonye Jekiri 10. John Brown and Hezonja helped UNICS to a 37-46 halftime lead before Lorenzo Brown scored 13 points in the third quarter, during which the margin reached 20. UNICS led 73-88 with 4 minutes left in regulation, but Exum, Kuric and Mirotic rallied Barcelona to force overtime, 94-94. Kuric scored 10 points in the extra session to give Barcelona a 111-109 lead and Lorenzo Brown missed from beyond the arc at the buzzer.

Hezonja got UNICS going with back-to-back three-pointers and an acrobatic alley-oop layup. Mirotic and Brandon Davies each scored in the paint and Pierre Oriola matched John Brown's baseline jumper with a backdoor. Dimitrii Uzinskii hit a corner triple and John Brown matched Oriola's layup with a basket inside for an 11-15 UNICS lead. Mirotic struck from downtown and Jokubaitis added a driving layup but Lorenzo Brown and John Brown kept UNICS in charge, 18-24. Rolands Smits found his first points, Laprovittola added a driving layup and Kuric struck from beyond the arc, bringing Barcelona within 27-28 after 10 minutes.

Kuric sank a jumper early in the second quarter, giving Barcelona its first lead, 29-28. John Brown scored down low, but Sertac Sanli kept the hosts ahead, 33-30. O.J. Mayo scored in the paint and John Brown dunked off a steal to give UNICS a 33-34 edge. Smits took over with a backdoor layup, but Marco Spissu hit a floater and Hezonja sank his third triple to extend the UNICS lead. Canaan hit a step-back jumper and got help from John Brown and Jekiri to make it a double-digit game, 35-45. Mirotic finished a four-chance Barcelona offense with a layup, bringing his team within 37-46 at halftime.

John Brown took over with a wild put-back basket soon after the break and followed Lorenzo Brown's three-pointer with a fast break slam for a 39-53 UNICS lead. Lorenzo Brown soon added a put-back jumper, which prompted Barcelona to stop the game at 39-55. Laprovittola sank a three-pointer, but John Brown scored down and Lorenzo Brown struck from downtown to break the game open, 43-60. Smits scored off a spin move and Mirotic hit a triple that gave the hosts hope at 48-60. Lorenzo Brown buried a jumper, Canaan and Laprovittola traded three-pointers but so did Lorenzo Brown and Hezonja for a 51-71 UNICS margin. Mirotic brought UNICS a bit closer, 57-74, after 30 minutes.

Mayo buried a three-pointer in transition early in the fourth quarter. Exum answered with a driving layup, igniting a 6-0 run that Jokubaitis capped with a fastbreak basket. Lorenzo Brown and Canaan stepped up for the visitors, but Jokubaitis and Mirotic each struck from beyond the arc to fuel Barcelona's comeback, 69-81. Canaan answered from downtown and Jekiri scored in the paint to give UNICS fresh air at 73-88 with 4 minutes remaining. Mirotic and Exum kept pushing Barcelona and Kuric sank a corner triple to make it an 8-point game. Mirotic hit free throws and Laprovittola scored off an inbounds steal to get within 84-88, with 2 minutes left. Jokubaitis erased Lorenzo Brown's steal and slam with a layup. Laprovittola and John Brown traded free throws and Kuric hit a triple to make it 91-92 Barcelona with 42.6 seconds left. Lorenzo Brown hit foul shots, but Mirotic drew a foul shooting a three and made the resulting 3 free throws to tie it at 94-94 with 15.5 seconds remaining. Lorenzo Brown missed a mid-range jumper at the buzzer.

Kuric gave Barcelona the lead early in overtime. Canaan swished a shot from beyond the arc and Hezonja buried a jumper, but Kuric and Smits gave Barcelona a 100-99 edge. After Jekiri dunked and Lorenzo Brown split free throws, Kuric struck from downtown to make it 103-102. Canaan hit free throws and banked in a close shot for a 105-106 UNICS lead with 27.6 seconds left. Sanli split foul shots and Jokubaitis took over with a driving layup that put Barcelona in charge, 108-106, with 18.0 seconds remaining. Canaan drew a foul while taking a three-point shot, but only hit one free throw. Jokubaitis and Lorenzo Brown were perfect from the foul line for a 110-109 edge with 6.1 seconds left. Kuric split foul shots and Lorenzo Brown missed from downtown at the buzzer, allowing the Barcelona fans to celebrate a win.

Hezonja finally returns to Palau

UNICS Kazan forward Mario Hezonja last played for FC Barcelona during the 2014-15 season and had not returned to Palau Blaugrana until Wednesday night's Round 17 fixture. In the meantime, Hezonja played in the NBA and for Turkish Airlines EuroLeague powerhouse Panathinaikos OPAP Athens before joining UNICS over the summer. Hezonja was received with a warm ovation by Barcelona fans and started the game on fire with back-to-back three-pointers and a wild alley-oop layup. He finished the game with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for a PIR of 18.

Barcelona remains undefeated against UNICS

FC Barcelona and UNICS Kazan met at Palau Blaugrana in Round 17 for the teams' first showdown since the 2016-17 campaign and Barcelona once again prevailed. Before this game, Barcelona was 7-0 against the Russian powerhouse in EuroLeague action - and in European competitions - as the teams have not crossed paths anywhere else. Barcelona downed UNICS twice in the 2010-11 campaign, swept the Russian powerhouse in the 2012 playoffs to access to the Final Four, and also beat UNICS at home and on the road in the 2016-17 regular season.

Barcelona ties EuroLeague free-throw record

FC Barcelona buried 42 free throws in its Round 17 home win against UNICS Kazan, 111-109. By doing so, Barcelona tied the EuroLeague single-game record. It was the fourth team to reach that number. Maccabi Tel Aviv did so against Fortitudo Bologna in 2003, then it was Cibona Zagreb against Union Olimpija Ljubljana in 2006 and Panathinaikos Athens against Partizan Belgrade in 2007. Barcelona needed the fewest attempts (44) to reach this mark - Cibona took 48 free throw attempts, Maccabi 50 and Panathinaikos 53.

FC Barcelona celebrates - EB21
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Attendance: 4863
By Quarter1234Extra 1
FC Barcelona2710203717
UNICS Kazan2818282015
End of Quarter1234Extra 1
FC Barcelona27375794111
UNICS Kazan28467494109
FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 14:43 2 1/2       1 1 3 1 5     2 1  
1 EXUM, DANTE LIMAN 29:21 13 2/5 1/1 6/6 1 1 2 2   1     2 4 15
5 SANLI, SERTAC 22:49 5 1/3   3/4 2 4 6     2   1 2 3 6
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 27:54 8 2/3 0/1 4/4 2 4 6 1 3 1     4 2 13
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 13:16 4 2/3     2 4 6 1             10
20 LAPROVITTOLA, NICOLAS 23:48 12 2/2 2/4 2/2   2 2 8 1 4     5 4 16
24 KURIC, KYLE 28:16 24 1/1 4/9 10/11 2 3 5 1   3     1 5 25
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 29:11 15 4/6 1/2 4/4 1   1 2 1 4     5 4 11
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 31:50 28 3/6 3/7 13/13 1 2 3 1 1 2     5 7 26
42 CAICEDO, MICHAEL 3:52         1 1 2               2
43 UBAL, AGUSTIN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
46 NNAJI, JAMES DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           3 2 5     1         4
Totals 225:00 111 18/31 11/24 42/44 15 24 39 19 7 23 0 1 26 30 128
        58.1% 45.8% 95.5%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 SPISSU, MARCO 8:49 2 1/1       1 1     2         1
00 BROWN, JOHN 41:08 21 8/14   5/8 3 2 5 1 5 2     3 6 24
3 CANAAN, ISAIAH 35:38 20 3/5 3/6 5/7   1 1 1 2 1     4 6 18
4 BROWN, LORENZO 36:14 27 4/9 4/10 7/8 2 5 7 9 2 4     3 7 33
5 BRANTLEY, JARRELL 7:04   0/1 0/1         1 1       1   -1
8 ZAITCEV, VIACHESLAV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 HEZONJA, MARIO 36:17 18 2/7 4/6 2/2 1 3 4 3 2 1 1   5 4 19
12 KLIMENKO, ARTEM DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 UZINSKII, DMITRII 5:19 3   1/1                   2   1
23 JEKIRI, TONYE 29:23 10 4/5   2/2 7   7 2 1 1     5 1 14
32 MAYO, O J 12:46 6 1/4 1/3 1/2 1   1   1 1     4 1 -2
33 VORONTSEVICH, ANDREY 12:22 2 0/1 0/2 2/2 1   1           3 1 -2
Team           2   2     1         1
Totals 225:00 109 23/47 13/29 24/31 17 12 29 17 14 13 1 0 30 26 106
        48.9% 44.8% 77.4%

Head Coaches

FC Barcelona
"First of all, I didn't see it [coming], if you want to ask me. I am talking about the middle of the third or something. You are just trying to make a little bit of the game and then put a little bit of doubt in the team's minds in this type of situation and hopefully something happens. And it did happen for us. We were better at the end of the third, and in the fourth, we were obviously better, but we won the game with offense. In general, like I told you at halftime, it was not a pretty sight, but like I said, in these situations, when you are losing by a lot, especially at home, the goal is try to put some doubts, just try to get to 10 points down and something like that and hopefully, there will be doubts in the other team's heads. I cannot speak for them, but from the middle of the fourth we saw an opportunity and we took it. We have only two losses and at the same time, we tied Fenerbahce for the best record at this time. At this point of the season, in December, you are looking for a little bit of motivation, and I told this to the players before that. It doesn't give you anything but it is a little something. It is a small win that you try to get during the season and I am glad we had it."

"We had this game in our hands, but in the last quarter, they scored 37 points, a lot of tough shots but also a lot of free throws, so it is very difficult [to win] when they scored 37 points. We were very close but didn't know how to finish the game."

"First of all, congratulations to Barcelona because due to its effort in the fourth quarter and overtime, it deserved to win the game. We leave with a bad taste in our mouths because we were close to winning the game, but were not able to finish it."


FC Barcelona
"I feel great! Such an amazing win! A difficult one. We have been down all the game but in the end, we came with some amazing stops, our crowd helped us a lot, so it is a huge win before a little Christmas break, so I am very happy for the team. We are doing a good job. We struggled all season with injuries and everything, but this team is fighting and everybody is stepping up. This is Barcelona, everybody expects us to win. This is nothing new. We have to stay humble, there are a lot of things to improve and we are in the right direction. They were kicking our ass, to be honest, especially physically, but we showed our character in the end and pulled this important game. I am very proud of the team and the coaching staff."
FC Barcelona
"A lot of emotions. Right now, I cannot stop smiling because we took this victory when we were down by 20 and in Palau. It is an amazing feeling. It is a very important victory. We played very bad for three and a half quarters and to take this victory before Christmas... It would have been bad to go to the Christmas break with a loss. Right now, of course, we have a lot of things to change and improve on, but right now, it is an amazing victory."
"Tough game tonight. We all witnessed what happened at the end… We will learn from it and be better for sure."
"We just gave them the game. We let their pressure get us out of rhythm in the fourth. We tried to fight back, but it wasn’t enough."