Laprovittola leads Barcelona past ASVEL
FC Barcelona used a pair of big runs and a career-best scoring performance from Nicolas Laprovittola to beat LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 60-80 on Friday night at Astoballe. Barcelona improved to a joint league-best 9-2 record, while ASVEL dropped to 6-5. Barcelona took the lead for good with a first-quarter ending 0-12 run, then pulled away by scoring 31 points in the third quarter. Laprovittola shined with 25 points, tying a club record with 7 three-pointers made, and he also grabbed 7 rebounds and had 2 assists. Nikola Mirotic was the only other Barcelona player in double figures with 15 points. Elie Okobo was the only ASVEL player in double-digits, scoring 17 points.
Baskets were few and far between in the early going, with James Gist and Okobo scoring tough baskets for ASVEL. Mirotic scored inside and from the outside, but Chris Jones had a jumper and Gist fought for a put-back and a 9-7 score. However, Kyle Kuric knocked down a triple, and sparked a run of 12 straight points for the visitors. Brandon Davies scored inside, Sertac Sanli had a dunk and Rokas Jokubaitis made a last-second floater to make it 9-19 after 10 minutes. Barcelona continued its run in the opening minute of the second with a driving layup from Jokubaitis and a triple from Sergi Martinez to open a 9-24 margin. A basket from Jones snapped a 0-17 run, while sparking a 10-0 run for the hosts fueled by Jones and Kostas Antetokounmpo. Laprovittola's triple ended Barcelona's scoring drought that lasted for nearly 4 minutes, but a dunk from Gist, a floater from William Howard and an alley-oop dunk by Antetokounmpo got the hosts within 28-29, before a last-second layup from Jokubaitis made it 28-31 at halftime.
Mirotic scored Barcelona's first 8 points in the third quarter, including back-to-back threes to open a 30-39 lead. Laprovittola and Okobo traded threes, before Laprovittola's second made it 33-45. ASVEL was not going away just yet, with Jones and Okobo scoring in the crowd, before a corner triple from Charles Kahudi cut it to 41-47. A three-point play and a three-pointer from Okobo got ASVEL within 47-51, but Davies fought for a basket inside before Laprovittola finished the quarter with back-to-back second-chance triples to cap a 0-11 run and make it 47-62. Laprovittola remained hot in the fourth, scoring a floater and back-to-back triples, then dished it for Sertac Sanli's dunk to open a 49-72 lead. The hosts cut the deficit to 16 points thanks to Howard, Antetokounmpo and Matthew Strazel, but Barcelona cruised to victory.
Barcelona's great start
On a short rest at a tough away court, there is hardly a better way to start the game than what Barcelona did at the Astroballe. Offensively, Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius’s team committed no turnovers in the first 10 minutes, while defensively Barcelona held ASVEL to 4-for-14 field goal shooting, including 0-for-2 from long range, and not allowing a single assist. Along with 7 different scorers who combined for 19 points, it all led to Barcelona finishing the quarter with a 0-12 run, to grab a 10-point lead and assume full control of the game. A driving layup from Rokas Jokubaitis and a corner triple from Sergi Martinez in the opening minute of the second quarter turned it into a 0-17 run, and a 15-point lead.
Niko and Nico re-ignite visitors
After Barcelona all but squandered its 15-point second-quarter lead, Nikola Mirotic and Nicolas Laprovittola re-started Barcelona's offensive engines in the third quarter. Mirotic opened the third quarter with 8 consecutive points, including back-to-back triples, followed by back-to-back threes from Laprovittola to open a 33-45 lead. The duo was far from done, especially Laprovittola, who nailed a pair of second-chance three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter. After Nikola and Nicolas combined for 22 points in the third quarter, Laprovittola scored the first 8 points of the fourth. The Barcelona playmaker – who started in the absence of injured Nick Calathes - finished the game with career-high 25 points on 7-for-12 three-point shooting, tying a club single-game record for three-pointers made.
Barcelona did not allow a three-pointer in the first half, and held ASVEL to just 3 triples made until the midway point of the fourth quarter. ASVEL finished with just 6-for-15 three-point shooting, but those 40% were still better than 39.5% on two-pointers. The hosts also had just 7 assists for the night. Meanwhile, Barcelona hit 12 of its first 27 three-point attempts, before missing the last four shots when it already had a 23-point lead. The visitors also made 50% of their two-pointers, while dishing 18 assists. Barcelona also won the rebounding battle 45-32, pulling down 16 offensive boards against ASVEL's 9.
Friday, November 19, 2021