2019-20Regular SeasonRound 26
February 27, 2020 CET: 18:00
Local time: 20:00 MEGASPORT ARENA

Mirotic's game-winner sends Barcelona to playoffs

In the most thrilling of finishes, FC Barcelona grabbed its seventh consecutive win and punched its ticket to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs by downing CSKA Moscow 80-82 in the Russian capital on Thursday. Barcelona improved to 20-6 in the standings to clinch its spot in the playoffs while CSKA dropped to 17-9. Nikola Mirotic led the winners with 23 points, including the game-winning jumper with 0.4 seconds left. Cory Higgins added 17 and Brandon Davies had 16 for Barcelona. Daniel Hackett paced CSKA with 17 points, Darrun Hilliard added 14, Mike James 12, Nikita Kurbanov 11 and Kyle Hines 10. It was an exciting game all night. Barcelona led 72-76 with 2 minutes left, but a wild three-pointer by James tied the game, 80-80, with 5.4 seconds left. However, that was enough time for Mirotic to sink the game-winning shot with 0.4 seconds remaining.

Higgins got Barcelona going with the opening 4 points in a 0-7 run that Mirotic capped with a layup-plus-foul. Ron Baker and Hines stepped up for CSKA and James struck from downtown to tie the game, 7-7, after a 7-0 run. Victor Claver and Adam Hanga rescued Barcelona with back-to-back three-pointers. Hines took over with a driving layup, but Ante Tomic matched it with a put-back basket and Mirotic added a triple to boost the visitors' lead to 9-18. Kosta Koufos and Hilliard brought CSKA within 15-18 after 10 minutes. Joel Bolomboy hit an off-balance jumper early in the second quarter and Hackett added a fastbreak layup to give CSKA the lead, 19-18. Koufos capped a 13-0 run with an alley-oop slam, as Davies buried back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game again, 24-24. Hilliard answered from downtown, but Mirotic finished a three-chance Barcelona offense with a jump hook. Koufos scored down low and Janis Strelnieks hit a running floater that gave CSKA fresh air at 31-26. James found Hines for a layup and fed Bolomboy for a triple, but Kuric singlehandedly kept Barcelona within 36-31. Mirotic downed back-to-back three-pointers - the second one from way downtown at the halftime buzzer - to get the visitors even closer, 40-37, at the break.

Hanga scored in penetration and found Mirotic for a layup, but Hilliard and Bolomboy kept CSKA ahead, 44-41, after the game. Davies struck again from downtown and Higgins added a jumper to restore a 44-46 Barcelona lead. Hackett struck twice from beyond the arc, causing the visitors to call timeout at 50-46. Davies sank his fourth three-pointer, but Hackett took over with a scoop shot in the lane and Hines added a reverse layup for a 54-50 CSKA edge. Higgins had 4 points and 2 assists in a 0-9 run that Delaney capped with a corner triple for a 54-59 Barcelona lead. Kurbanov struck twice from downtown before Delaney and Higgins put the visitors up 60-63 through three quarters. Hilliard stepped up with a layup-plus-foul early in the fourth quarter and Kurbanov dunked off a steal for a 65-63 CSKA lead. Pierre Oriola sank a three-pointer and Higgins swished a jumper, but Kurbanov buried a triple and James added a driving layup and an outstanding put-back slam for a 72-68 CSKA lead. Barcelona did not panic, as Kuric downed a triple and Higgins added a jumper in an 0-8 run that caused the visitors to regain the lead, 72-76. Hackett downed a three-pointer, but Mirotic hit free throws for a 75-78 score with a minute left. Hilliard scored in penetration and Davies drew a foul with 8.0 seconds left. He made both attempts, but James buried an unbelievable three-pointer to tied the game at 80-80. However, he left just enough time for a final Barcelona possession and Mirotic sank a fadeaway from the baseline in the final second to lift Barcelona to victory.

Pivotal performer

Nikola Mirotic not only hit the game-winning shot, but was consistent throughout the game, finishing with 23 points on 4-of-6 two-point shooting, 3-of-5 on three-pointers and 6-of-6 on free throws. He added 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 fouls drawn for a PIR of 32.

Game-changing moment

It all came down to the final seconds... CSKA called timeout at 77-80 with 8.0 seconds left. Mike James got the ball and immediately buried a corner three-pointer to tie the game at 80-80 with 5.4 seconds remaining. Barcelona called its remaining timeout and put the ball in the hands of Nikola Mirotic, who buried a one-legged turnaround jumper to win the game with 0.4 seconds to go.

Stellar stat

Brandon Davies was the X-factor, statistically speaking, in this game. In 95 EuroLeague career games, Davies had made just 1 of 8 three-point shots - against Zenit St Petersburg earlier this season. He buried 4 of them in this game without a miss, breaking CSKA's game plan and allowing Barcelona to escape with a win.

Did you notice?

It was Cory Higgins's first game in Megasport Arena since leaving CSKA last summer. Higgins helped CSKA to four Final Four appearances and EuroLeague titles in 2016 and 2019. He lived up to the challenge, getting 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 8 fouls drawn for a PIR of 20.

Next game

Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action early next week. CSKA takes on Zenit St Petersburg in an all-Russian showdown on Tuesday, March 3. Barcelona visits ALBA Berlin on Wednesday, March 4.

Nikola Mirotic - FC Barcelona - EB19
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Attendance: 11355
By Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow15252020
FC Barcelona18192619
End of Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow15406080
FC Barcelona18376382
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
3 BOLOMBOY, JOEL 26:56 6 1/5 1/2 1/2 1 6 7 2     1   1 3 12
5 JAMES, MIKE 23:06 12 2/5 2/6 2/2 1 1 2 4   5   1 3 7 9
11 ANTONOV, SEMEN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 STRELNIEKS, JANIS 3:44 2 1/1                       2 4
17 VOIGTMANN, JOHANNES 11:23   0/2     1   1   1 1     3   -4
23 HACKETT, DANIEL 24:08 17 3/5 3/4 2/2       4   3     3 2 14
26 SANT-ROOS, HOWARD 13:43   0/2 0/3           1       2   -6
31 KOUFOS, KOSTA 16:44 6 3/4     2 4 6   2       2   11
32 HILLIARD, DARRUN 28:49 14 3/4 2/4 2/3   6 6 2 1   1   1 3 22
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 23:31 11 1/3 3/5     2 2   3       1   11
42 HINES, KYLE 23:16 10 4/4   2/2 1 2 3 1   3     3 2 10
84 BAKER, RON 4:40 2 0/1   2/2   1 1 1   1     1 1 2
Team           2 3 5     1         4
Totals 200:00 80 18/36 11/24 11/13 8 25 33 14 8 14 2 1 20 20 89
        50% 45.8% 84.6%
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
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 20:57 16 1/6 4/4 2/2 3 4 7 1 2 1   2 2 1 17
5 RIBAS, PAU 6:13     0/1         1   2         -2
8 HANGA, ADAM 14:26 5 1/2 1/5         3 1 2 1   3 3 3
10 SMITS, ROLANDS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 10:43 3   1/2         1   1     1   1
21 ABRINES, ALEX 5:21                         2 1 -1
22 HIGGINS, CORY 34:01 17 5/10 0/2 7/8 1 4 5 3 1 4     2 8 20
23 DELANEY, MALCOLM 22:40 6 1/1 1/3 1/2   1 1 2   2     3 1 2
24 KURIC, KYLE 13:40 7 2/4 1/2   1   1           2 3 6
30 CLAVER, VICTOR 23:39 3 0/2 1/1     1 1           2    
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 29:17 23 4/6 3/5 6/6 2 6 8 2           3 32
44 TOMIC, ANTE 19:03 2 1/3     1 6 7 3 1 1     3   7
Team             1 1               1
Totals 200:00 82 15/34 12/25 16/18 8 23 31 16 5 13 1 2 20 20 86
        44.1% 48% 88.9%

Head Coaches

CSKA Moscow
"Congratulations to Barcelona. It was a completely different game, a close game. Small details decided the game throughout the whole game. If we analyze it from the beginning until the end, we found the way, although they had a great start, but we established ourselves defensively and offensively. We led the game by 9, 40-31, but unfortunately, they scored 2 three-pointers, one of them at the first-half buzzer and in another pick-and-pop which was not contested. That is one small detail, for instance, that cost us 3 points. It is very different to go to the locker room with plus-9 than doing it with plus-3. They came out stronger than us in the third quarter, but we were there - we had the lead, they took it, it was a very tight game. It came to the end like we all see with us tying the game with a big shot and them hitting that last shot. Congratulations to them. Thank you to our fans, it was a great atmosphere, but unfortunately, we were not able to give them the win."
FC Barcelona

"The key factor, I think, if you analyze the big picture of the game, I think that the most important was that in the second half, we improved our penetration defense. We stopped their penetrations and played very good one-on-one defense. The defense against James was very important for us. This is about all the game. About the last 8 seconds, I don't know what is the reason, why we didn't use our advantage to make the foul, as CSKA didn't have this advantage. We should have made a foul in any case but didn't. We had a timeout, which was important in this moment and found Mirotic, as always in this situation. CSKA didn't have the advantage, didn't have the bonus to make the foul and this is the reason that, in the end, we won the game."

"If we are going to analyze all the game from the beginning until the end, to see the big picture, I think our defense in the first 20 minutes wasn't on the level that made us control our destiny. I think even when we control James correctly, the reason that we came into the rhythm and played our basketball was that we improved our penetration defense in the third quarter. It was excellent. We stopped James, but Hackett is having a great season and he is one of their most important players. CSKA showed one more time that it is not only James. Kurbanov made 3 three-point shots in a row. We had continuity on defense against James, but in the end, controlling all the position was, for us, not easy."


CSKA Moscow
"We played hard, we fought, but we have to give credit to Barcelona for also playing a good game. This was a high-level game. Both teams played at a very high level, very physical. They made one more play than us and took the game. Mirotic made a great shot. He is a great player and took the game. We have to stay positive and keep staying on course. This season is long and for sure, we will learn from the negatives of this game."
FC Barcelona
"It was all about defense. We knew that we had to play better defense in the second half because they played very comfortable in the first half. We started to pressure the ball and offensively, started to execute better, finding each possession the guy who was open. In the end, we won a very tough game, so I am very proud of the team once again because we have been having a very tough schedule, coming from Panathinaikos and playing right here, so I am very happy, once again. I always say it is all about my teammates, it is all about the coaching staff: they made a great play for me. I received the ball down there and just tried to make the best move. It was a good basket, but most important is that we won the game. I am very happy."
FC Barcelona
"It was a huge win for us, especially after what they did to us in Barcelona: they embarrassed us. We were very motivated and we knew this was a huge game for our confidence, we know we can win anywhere. We are getting into the thick of things before the playoffs, so every game matters. We want to make sure we finish as high as possible and make sure we have the best [playoff] seed for us."
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