2019-20Regular SeasonRound 16
December 27, 2019 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Mirotic leads Barcelona past Olympiacos

FC Barcelona stayed strong at the top of the standings by downing Olympiacos Piraeus 90-80 at Palau Blaugrana on Friday. Barcelona lifted its record to 13-3 to finish 2019 with the same record as Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes Istanbul, at least two wins ahead everyone else. Olympiacos dropped to 6-10. Nikola Mirotic led the winners with 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Kyle Kuric added 18 points, Adam Hanga 14 and Malcolm Delaney 11. Willie Reed led Olympiacos with 15 points. Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Papanikolaou each had 14 while Augustine Rubit added 11 for the guests. Cory Higgins and Mirotic shined early, getting help from Ante Tomic to give Barcelona a 20-12 lead after 10 minutes. Rubit and Papanikolaou rescued Olympiacos, allowing the Reds to take a 29-34 advantage in the second quarter. Mirotic and an outstanding Kuric pushed Barcelona back to a 40-39 edge at halftime. In the third quarter, five Barcelona players scored in a 12-0 run that Higgins capped with a jumper to break the game open, 56-43. Barcelona kept a 69-58 margin after 30 minutes behind an unstoppable Mirotic and extended it to 78-60 soon after that, sealing the outcome.

Georgios Printezis got Olympiacos going with a floater. Higgins answered with a driving layup and a wide-open three-pointer in transition in a 7-0 run that Mirotic capped with a six-meter jumper. Printezis scored again but he didn't find any help, while a jump-hook by Tomic gave Barcelona a 9-4 edge. Alex Abrines dunked, then Mirotic followed a layup with a three-pointer that made it 16-6. Rubit swished a jumper off an Olympiacos timeout but Barcelona kept finding easy points down low, as Tomic and Mirotic gave the hosts a 20-8 lead, which Printezis and Will Cherry cut to 20-12 after 10 minutes. Rubit kept pacing the Reds and Vezenkov added a fastbreak layup to make Barcelona call timeout game at 20-16. Brandon Davies tried to change things for Barcelona and Delaney erased Papanikolaou's triple with his own. Olympiacos got help from Taylor Rochestie and Vezenkov, who brought the Reds within 27-25. Papanikolaou struck again from beyond the arc to complete Olympiacos's comeback, 27-28. Higgins scored in penetration but Rubit had 4 points in a 0-6 run highlighted by Papanikolaou's fastbreak slam, good for a 29-34 Olympiacos lead. Mirotic and Adam Hanga stepped up for the hosts but consecutive jumpers by Vezenkov and Reed kept Olympiacos in charge, 34-38. Kuric took over with a four-point play and added a fastbreak layup for a 40-39 Barcelona lead at halftime. Mirotic scored in close soon after the break and Hanga dunked but Reed kept Olympiacos within 44-43. Tomic hit a jump-hook, igniting a 12-0 Barcelona run in which Kuric and Hanga each struck from beyond the arc. Higgins capped it with a jumper for a 56-43 Barcelona lead. Rubit and Cherry tried to change things for Olympiacos as Barcelona head coach Svetislav Pesic was ejected due to a double technical foul. A three-point shot competition started as Mirotic, Papanikolaou, Abrines and Wade Baldwin each struck from downtown. Delaney outdid them all, however, with back-to-back triples for a 68-53 score. Antonios Koniaris joined the three-point shootout and Baldwin brought Olympiacos a bit closer, 69-58, after 30 minutes. Mirotic beat the shot clock buzzer with a tip-in early in the fourth quarter as Olympiacos kept struggling to score. Kuric downed a jumper and soon added a three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 78-60, with under 6 minutes left.

Pivotal performer

Mirotic did a little bit of everything to make sure his team added another home win. He finished the game with a monster double-double, 21 points and 15 rebounds – a new career high – hitting 6 of 9 two-point shots and 2 of 5 from downtown. He added 2 assists, a steal, a block and 5 fouls drawn for a PIR of 33.

Game-changing moment

A dunk by Reed brought Olympiacos within 44-43 early in the second half. Tomic stepped up with a jump-hook, Mirotic added a put-back basket, then Kuric and Hanga each struck from downtown in a 12-0 run that Higgins capped with a jumper. Five different players fueled a 12-0 run that gave Barcelona a comfortable lead for good, 56-43, and full control of the game.

Stellar stat

Olympiacos missed Nikola Milutinov, the competition's best rebounder (9.3 rpg.) under the rims. Barcelona outrebounded the Reds by 38-34. Barcelona also forced Olympiacos to pick up 16 turnovers. Barcelona was perfect from the foul line, 15 of 15, for the third time this season. It previously hit 16 of 16 free throws against FC Bayern Munich and 5 of 5 against Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Did you notice?

Ante Tomic became just the fourth player in EuroLeague history to break the 1,500-rebound mark. He grabbed his 1,500th rebound with 5:50 left in the third quarter. Felipe Reyes leads the standings with 1,782 rebounds, followed by Paulius Jankunas (1,775) and Ioannis Bourousis (1,603).

Next game

Both teams return to EuroLeague action early in 2020, playing on Thursday, January 2, in Round 17. Barcelona visits KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and its former head coach, Dusko Ivanovic, while Olympiacos hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.

Nikola Mirotic - FC Barcelona - EB19
Friday, December 27, 2019
Attendance: 7173
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona20202921
Olympiacos Piraeus12271922
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona20406990
Olympiacos Piraeus12395880
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 14:45 6 2/5   2/2   3 3     1   1 3 5 6
5 RIBAS, PAU 5:52     0/1   1 1 2               1
8 HANGA, ADAM 19:47 14 3/5 1/2 5/5   4 4 3 3 1     2 3 21
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 5:53   0/1     1   1     1     1   -2
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 13:43           3 3           1   2
21 ABRINES, ALEX 18:43 5 1/3 1/5   1   1 1       1 1   -1
22 HIGGINS, CORY 29:59 9 3/8 1/4         4   1   1 2 5 6
23 DELANEY, MALCOLM 20:13 11 0/2 3/6 2/2   1 1 4 1 3     2 1 8
24 KURIC, KYLE 19:33 18 3/4 3/5 3/3   1 1 1         1 2 18
30 CLAVER, VICTOR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 27:03 21 6/9 2/5 3/3 4 11 15 2 1 2 1 1 3 5 33
44 TOMIC, ANTE 24:29 6 3/5     2 2 4 1 1 4 1   2   5
Team           2 1 3               3
Totals 200:00 90 21/42 11/28 15/15 11 27 38 16 6 13 2 4 18 21 100
        50% 39.3% 100%
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
Olympiacos Piraeus
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 ROCHESTIE, TAYLOR 21:33 4 2/4 0/1     1 1 7 2 2     4 2 7
2 BALDWIN IV, WADE 15:54 6 1/1 1/1 1/2   1 1 1   3       7 11
3 PAUL, BRANDON 14:17   0/4 0/3   2 2 4   1 1       1 -2
6 KONIARIS, ANTONIOS 10:39 3 0/1 1/2     1 1 1   2         1
7 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 12:23 2 1/3 0/1     1 1 1   3   1     -3
10 CHERRY, WILL 19:31 6 3/5 0/1   1 1 2 2 1 3     2   3
14 VEZENKOV, SASHA 24:28 14 5/9 0/3 4/4 1 3 4 3     2   4 2 14
15 PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS 15:36 6 3/4   0/2   2 2         1 2 2 4
16 PAPANIKOLAOU, KOSTAS 25:43 14 1/2 4/7     5 5   1 1     3   12
21 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 18:56 10 3/3 0/1 4/4 3 2 5 2 1   2   4 2 17
33 REED, WILLIE 21:00 15 7/9 0/1 1/2 1 3 4 1   1     3 2 14
Team           2 3 5               5
Totals 200:00 80 26/45 6/21 10/14 10 25 35 18 6 16 4 2 22 18 83
        57.8% 28.6% 71.4%

Head Coaches

FC Barcelona

"We started the game excellent, with excellent defense and without turnovers, very good concentration. And after that, we changed players, and the players that came from the bench lost the rhythm of the game. We were lucky because basketball is four quarters, and we had a third quarter that was like a test for us, to see if we could improve our game. We had 3 turnovers in the second half and 10 in the first half. It is not possible to play well if you have 10 turnovers in 20 minutes. The game was up and down, but one more time, we scored 90 points in the EuroLeague, which is not an easy job. We scored 90 points but they scored 20 points in transition and I didn't like this. In the third and fourth quarters, we understood that we needed to play without turnovers. Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis are two great players, but Nikola Mirotic did an excellent job on offense, defense and rebounds – a total effort. Cory Higgins played great defense against Spanoulis, who practically could not play against him. Then Adam Hanga had control of the game all the time; he knew how to play against then. This is the reason why we took an 18- or 20-point lead and won the game."

"I am satisfied with a victory because every game in the EuroLeague is important. But our ups and downs during the game are the reason we cannot be happy with our game. This is what we should improve."

Olympiacos Piraeus
Kemzura: “Congratulations to Barcelona. They deserved to win. We didn’t start the game as we planned. All the game they maintained pressure and intensity, which we knew would happen. We were too slow, we didn’t set the screens and we couldn’t execute our offenses. They destroyed every screen and showed a really high level of physicality and intensity. In the second quarter we found a line-up and tried to be more attacking, and more aggressive defensively, getting deflections and forcing bad shots, and speeding up our game. We even got the lead, but in the third quarter we went back to the same situation we started the game, and there were too many turnovers in the second half. Some because of aggressive defense but some because we were not ready. Then they hit some threes and we should have played better defense against Delaney. On the positive side, we kept fighting until the end. But we have to take better care of the ball and execute our offenses better if we want to beat great teams like this.”


FC Barcelona
"We had a good start but they came back and got back in the game. We focused at halftime and set the tone in the third quarter. That set us up for the win. Olympiacos played tough but that's their character. Olympiacos is always going to be physical and fight. We did good at matching their intensity and physicality inside in the second half."
FC Barcelona
"I am very happy. The team played great defense all 40 minutes. We did what we were supposed to do, getting back in transition, controlling the rebounds, and playing our game on offense. Sometimes when you take your shots the ball does not go in. It is just a matter of keep shooting. But we came with much more confidence in the third quarter, we executed well our offense. A big win for us."
Olympiacos Piraeus
"We didn't start the game well but came back. Then they scored 29 points in the third quarter, too many, and we lost the energy that we had. The third quarter made us lose the game. We knew that Barcelona is a team that plays very tough but we had too many turnovers. We have to keep fighting. We are in a tough position right now but have to keep going, keep fighting every game. It was good to be back. I had three good years with Barcelona, with ups and downs. I always like to be there, people in the arena and from the staff always welcome me back warmly."
Olympiacos Piraeus
"We didn't start the game well and found ourselves trailing in the beginning. We came back in the second quarter with a great defensive effort, made some baskets and came back. But then the third quarter was the main difference in this game today. We received, if I am not mistaken, 29 points in the third quarter. And when you play against such a good team in such a good arena, with a great crowd and everything, it is hard for any team to come back. We fought back but couldn't make it."
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