By Stefan Djordjevic / email@example.com
Alba Berlin was holding up throughout three quarters but Barcelona took over right from the start of the final period and eventually got an 80-67 home win in Round 31 of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
Barca had a 62-58 lead in front of the fourth quarter when Nikola Mirotic and Adam Hanga went on a 9-0 run to push their squad to double-digits and break the resistance of Alba.
The Spaniards’ defense was far better during the fourth quarter and it showed. Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius took special note of that.
“Defensively, I thought we were a little bit better, mainly 9 points (in the fourth quarter) because they didn’t score in transition. Our transition defense was absolutely terrible today. We were coming against a team that we know that they are very good in transition and allowed them to score. We were always running to find the wrong man in transition instead of just taking any player, using fouls… everything bad. But OK, we will try to let the guys know that this is not our level but most importantly, we took the win. Let’s hope we can learn from it. We haven’t done anything yet.”
Mirotic was quite dominant and finished the game with 26 points (seven boards, there steals) while Pierre Oriola added 13 and Brandon Davies 12 points. Kyle Kuric logged ten and Hanga seven points.
“Once again, it was very important game for us. Obviously, I don’t think we played our best game tonight, but a win is a win. We played good offensively. We did a good job offensively, and defensively it was not that good, but little by little, we knew how important it is for us to close this regular season. So I am very, very happy about this win but there are many things to improve. That was one of the biggest keys for us, to have the home-court advantage (in the playoffs). There are three games left in the regular season. Let’s try to win all of them, because we want to finish on top and then try to stay healthy and prepare for the next thing,” Mirotic said.
Alba’s offensive struggles showed up on the stats sheet as well with no players scoring in double-digits. Luke Sikma scored nine while Ben Lammers, Johannes Thiemann, Marcus Eriksson, and Peyton Siva had eight each.
Photo Credit: Turkish Airlines EuroLeague