By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
After recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, Nikola Mirotic returned to court and helped FC Barcelona beat Alba Berlin in Mercedes-Benz Arena 88-86.
The last season’s MVP led the Catalan team to their eighth win in Round 11 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with 19 points, six rebounds, three steals, and two assists for a PIR of 29.
“We scored almost 90 points, and it was a great win. Every game matters to us, and we want to keep building from this“, Mirotic said.
Nicolas Laprovittola followed with 16 points, while Cory Higgins added 15. Tomas Satoransky and Mike Tobey scored 11 points each.
Tamir Blatt stood out for Alba with 17 points, Jaleen Smith added 15, and Johannes Thiemann scored 12, with seven rebounds for a PIR of 22.
“Barcelona is a great team, they play very good basketball, and there are a lot of things we can learn from them. We played very badly at the beginning, but little by little, we were taking the rhythm in defense so we could come back. Again, we didn’t start very well, but we found a way to come back until the end. We threw our coin; sometimes, it’s a face or a cross, and today, it was a cross. The player’s attitude tonight was great, and they gave a good effort,” Alba coach Israel Gonzalez started at the press conference.
Barcelona started the game with authority and grabbed a 30-19 lead after the first 10 minutes. Alba answered at the beginning of the second period with a 10-0 run and turned the score around in the first half’s final minutes.
After the break, Barca responded furiously and took control with an 18-2 run. The Catalan team entered the last period with a 71-57 lead, but Alba refused to give up.
The host cut the deficit to five points midway through the final period. Barcelona went up to a double-digit advantage again, but Alba pushed again and, after Jaleen Smith’s triple, got just a point behind the Sarunas Jasikevicius’ team.
Johannes Thieman had a chance to tie the score from the free-throw line, but he missed one of his three free throws. Mirotic then scored just once from the line on the other end, and Alba had a chance to tie or win the game but couldn’t make the final shot.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game. It was a game of runs. Whenever we felt too good about ourselves, they returned and got themselves into the game. In the second quarter because we lost concentration, in the fourth because Alba is just really good“, coach Jasikevicius said after the game.