By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Baskonia looked lost with only one victory in the first five matches, but then Dusko Ivanovic returned and changed the course.
After edging Partizan and Olympiacos, the Vitoria team crushed Barcelona at Fernando Buesa Arena, improving to 4-4 with a 94-71 home-court victory.
Even though Marcus Howard shot the lights out with 26 points, it was Codi Miller-McIntyre who actually dominated, finishing the match with 20 points, seven assists, and four rebounds for a game-high PIR of 29.
Chima Moneke also continued producing for Baskonia under Ivanovic, scoring 19 points with five rebounds, as Baskonia shot 14/30 from beyond the arc and 14/14 from the free-throw line. Even coach Ivanovic heaped praise on the dominant trio, who scored 65 points, just six less then the whole Barcelona’s squad.
“When you have three guys that play like they did tonight, is easy to play,” Ivanovic said.
Barcelona couldn’t find a player to pull the team, with Nicolás Laprovittola being the top scorer with 14 points, and Oscar Da Silva adding 12. Coach Roger Grimau was brief in his post-game analysis.
“One more game. We lost, it doesn’t matter by how many points, and we just need to keep going.”
Dusko Ivanovic turning the tide
Coach Ivanovic has once again embraced a challenging task and turned the tide, as he did last year with Crvena Zvezda, taking over a team with a 1-6 score in the EuroLeague and notching 10 straight victories in both competitions. While still adjusting in the ACB League, where his team suffered consecutive losses to Gran Canaria and Obradoiro, in the EuroLeague, they have won three straight games and are looking sharper with each performance.
Ivanovic expressed his satisfaction after his team’s best night since he returned to the bench for the fourth time.
“First of all, we played good defense against Barcelona, which plays very well in transition and scores easy baskets. Plus, on offense, we had a really good shooting day. Tonight was good; we will see for the next game. The season is long, very long,” said the Montenegrin coach.
Marcus Howard also commented on Dusko’s approach, which is evidently yielding positive results.
“We were connecting and firing on all cylinders. Leading up to the game, the coach was telling us that if our mindset and our attitude are right, we can compete and beat anybody. We had a great fight from start to finish, knew the game plan, and executed. Barcelona is an excellent team, very well-coached. We put it together,” the US guard said after tying his season-high with 26 points.