By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
“A win is always positive but there is not a team you can underestimate, especially direct opponents. It is very dangerous at a professional level, especially if you play in the EuroLeague”, commented Svetislav Pesic after the game.
Nikola Mirotic led the efforts of the home team with a 25-point performance and a clutch three-pointer (his only one made in the game, 1/6) to give his team a vantage point in crunch time. He also added six rebounds for a PIR of 25. Brandon Davies was the second player of the winners to score in double digits, exiting the game with 10 points.
On the other end of the court, Lorenzo Brown and Kevin Punter tapped 15 and 13 points respectively for Zvezda.
Zvezda starts off strong, ceases to keep focus in the end
The Serbian team took charge early on with a 9-2 lead, but from that point on Barcelona regained its dominant position in the game, leading 29-19 after the first period. Zvezda enjoyed a 23-12 run in the second period to get ahead at halftime (42-41) and even managed to stay ahead in the third period (66-62, 30′).
Pierre Oriola and Alex Abrines signaled Barcelona’s comeback into the game with two back-to-back three-pointers to place the hosts ahead 77-70 (34′), though the visitors wouldn’t go out without a fight. Lorenzo Brown trimmed the deficit to one point with 2:26 remaining on the clock (79-78), while Mirotic answered with a shot behind the arch. Pau Ribas (7 points) stepped up in the final minute to help the home team seal the final result.
“We know that everyone thinks that we just have to step on court and win the game. This is impossible. At the professional level, you have to give your best at that moment and especially, not underestimate anyone. We saw how they started to believe and played great basketball. I am sure if we had a little bit of luck or we played well in the moments when the game was decided, in the fourth quarter”, added Pesic after the game.
Barcelona now moves forward with a 15-6 record in the standings, a tie with CSKA Moscow for the third place, while Zvezda falls to a 9-12 record – still remaining close in the playoffs battle, but not quite in the playoffs picture yet.