Barcelona returns to wins, all but eliminates Zvezda

2023-03-17T22:28:15+00:00 2023-03-17T23:15:29+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

17/Mar/23 22:28

Crvena Zvezda fought hard in Barcelona but the Catalan powerhouse wasn’t up for a third consecutive defeat.

By Eurohoops Team/

Barcelona bounced back to EuroLeague wins after two straight losses by defeating a tough Crvena Zvezda team 85 – 79 at home to climb to the third spot in the standings. This result all but eliminated Red Star from playoff contention since they are now 12-17 and in the 14th place.

Jan Vesely (21 points, six rebounds) and Nikola Mirotic (21 points, five rebounds) led the efforts of Barcelona toward victory. Vesely was particularly instrumental during the fourth quarter when he dropped 10 of his points via important and difficult baskets that repelled Zvezda’s comeback attempts. He also threw down the slam that secure the win for Barca, making it 85 – 79 with 25 seconds remaining.

“It is important that we stay focused on the game and got the win,” Vesely said. “We turned our energy on and that is what got us the win. It was a tough week. We knew it was a difficult road trip and we got two losses, but fortunately, it was a home game today. We have to build on today’s game again.”

Behind Facu Campazzo’s performance (24 points, four assists), Zvezda returned from down 69 – 59 three minutes into the fourth quarter and approached by a shooting distance, 75 – 73 with 2:52 remaining. Rokas Jokubaitis pulled off a 3-point play but Campazzo responded with a triple before a jumper by the Barca guard.

Luca Vildoza missed a triple and then former Zvezda forward Nikola Kalinic drained the 3-pointer for the 83 – 76 with 50 seconds left. It proved to be a dagger.

Filip Petrusev scored 12 points and got six rebounds for Zvezda. Benjamin Bentil had 11 points plus seven rebounds while Luka Mitrovic posted 11 points and six boards of his own.

“It was a tough game, a close game, and Barcelona may be played better in these last seconds than us,” said Zvezda coach Dusko Ivanovic said.

Tomas Satoransky provided Barcelona with 12 points plus five assists. Alex Abrines scored 12 (on 4-5 triples), all of them in the first half where the Blaugrana took a 40 – 36 lead.

“My guys really fought”

Barcelona coach Sarunas Jasikevicius liked how his players approached the game against an opponent that was incredibly motivated.

“I think that, if anything, my guys really fought,” Saras said. “I thought Zvezda was desperate and this was the difference: fighting vs. desperation. It was a final for them, it is one of their last chances [to make the playoffs]. We have to understand that we are entering the last phase of the regular season and teams are going to go crazy just to win the game, get the home-court [advantage] and take it. First of all, you have to match that effort. We still have a long way to go.”