By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Capitalizing on the 24-9 start, FC Barcelona got the job done against LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, 80-60, at Astroballe Friday.
Working on an upgraded role with Nick Calathes sidelined, Nicolas Laprovittola connected 7/12 triples to reset his EuroLeague personal-best 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He highlighted the 31-point explosion in the third period with 12 points of his own.
“When we found the solidness that we played for the most part of the second half, it was nice to watch,” mentioned Sarunas Jasikevicius, “And then, when you find a player who is so hot, like Laprovittola today, it is nice to see.”
“We have to keep playing with this mentality and play hard, with everybody helping the team. No matter the injuries, and who is on the court, we have to stick together,” added his top performer, “We expected a lot from this week. The game against CSKA was crazy, really crazy. Tonight, we expected physicality and a good team with a lot of talent. I think we played really well.”
Nikola Mirotic poured ten out of his 15 points in the third quarter as his side ran away with a comfortable lead and eventually in the joint-lead of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague standings with archrival Real Madrid. Both ACB teams sit at 9-2 after Regular Season Round 11.
Birthday boy Rokas Jokubaitis chipped in eight points, including a couple of buzzer-beaters at the end of the first and second quarter. “The EuroLeague season is very long, only 11 games have passed,” he said after the game, “It is nice we are in the first place. We are working, our mentality is to win every game. We are on the right path.”
Besides Cory Higgins and Alex Abrines, Barca lacked experienced point guard Calathes. He was ruled out with a left leg contusion after being limited late in the Round 10 home win opposite CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.
On the losing end, Marcos Knight and Dylan Osetkowski were added to the long list of unavailable players, after the team confirmed a couple of coronavirus cases in the active squad. Raymar Morgan, Victor Wembanyama, David Lighty, and Antoine Diot injured further limited T.J. Parker’s options.
Among the ten available players, Elie Okobo registered a team-high 17 points, despite being held to four points in the defensive-minded first half. Chris Jones finished with nine points, six rebounds, and four assists. The third defeat in a row dropped the hosts to 6-5.
“Credit to Barcelona. They played a good game. Way more intense than us. A lot of second-chance points, offensive rebounds,” said Parker, “We ran out of gas.”
Next Friday, in Round 12, Barcelona will host Jasikevicius’ former team Zalgiris Kaunas, while ASVEL visits AS Monaco.
Photo Credit: Barca Twitter