Barcelona reminded in finale that defense is paramount

Apr 07, 2019 by Print
Barcelona reminded in finale that defense is paramount

FC Barcelona Lassa's final regular season game supplied head coach Svetislav Pesic plenty of teaching lessons going into the team's playoff matchup with Anadolu Efes Istanbul – especially in terms of its defense. Barcelona gave up 32 points in the first quarter and 41 points in the first 14 minutes but managed to pick up its defensive intensity the rest of the way en route to an 83-74 victory over Khimki Moscow Region.

"We are happy about this victory. We can play very good basketball, but without defense we are an average team," said Pesic, whose team gave up just 2 points in the final 6 minutes of the first half as it stormed to its sixth straight win at home in the EuroLeague. The veteran leader knows his team will not stand much of a chance against offensive-minded Efes in their best-of-five quarterfinals series if it defends like it did in the first 14 minutes of Friday's game.

"This is a very good message for the team, that everyone should take more responsibility, more intensity, especially in the one-on-one game on defense," Pesic said. "Then we don't have any problem."

The message was clear to his players, including Adam Hanga, who tallied 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in the game.

"We didn't play our game today, especially in the first quarter," Hanga said. "We let them play their game and we didn't play our defense. We definitely have to improve in these situations." The versatile forward added that Barcelona has accomplished only the first step of what it wanted to do this season.

"It was our goal from the beginning of the season to make the playoffs, but we are still hungry and we will keep working to make the Final Four," Hanga concluded.