Barcelona holds on with clutch defense in Kaunas

2023-12-22T20:57:20+00:00 2023-12-23T01:45:35+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

22/Dec/23 20:57

Preventing Zalgiris from scoring over the last three minutes leads FC Barcelona to the win on the road

By Eurohoops Team/

Eight unanswered points down the stretch secured the win for FC Barcelona. A high-scoring affair, including 107 points between both teams in the first half, was decided by clutch defense, leading to the 85-80 victory for the visitors in Zalgirio Arena.

Bouncing back from the loss against ALBA Berlin on Tuesday, the reigning ACB champions improved to 11-5 in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season on Friday.

Nicolas Laprovittola went for 18 points, four rebounds, and three steals in the Round 16 contest.


“One of the key things for us was not letting Zalgiris take advantage of home,” reacted the 33-year-old Argentine floor general, “We were very smart in the second half. We played with more intensity, and very good in defense. We have to build on this victory.”

The all-time EuroLeague leader in two-pointers, Jan Vesely added six more in a 15-point effort to go with five rebounds in Kaunas. “We tried all kinds of defenses today. We know they are skilled. It is not easy to play one-on-one defense the whole game,” mentioned the 33-year-old Czech forward, “I think the switching defense was working for us in the end.”

Nikola Kalinic produced all of his 12 points from beyond the arc and also tallied eight rebounds and six assists. Tomas Satoransky threw in ten points, six assists, and three rebounds. Alex Abrines (groin) and Michael Caicedo (foot) remained unavailable, and Oriol Pauli did not get on the court.

A visit to AS Monaco shapes the next continental challenge for Barca on Friday, two days after a domestic visit to Unicaja“Our schedule is crazy. We need to rest a couple of days,” commented head coach Roger Grimau.

Five straight losses for Zalgiris

The Lithuania champions were forced down to 5-11 with a fifth loss in a row, including falling to Fenerbahce Beko on Wednesday. A third consecutive loss at home lowered the season record to a disappointing 2-5.  “Good fight and good efforts, but not enough quality,” Kazys Maksvytis described multiple narrow defeats over the continental campaign, “The team losing so many times like this, I think it the coach’s responsibility.”

“We know how difficult it is to play here in Kaunas, in front of Zalgiris fans. Zalgiris has been a very strong team for many years. They always fight, never quit,” pointed out Vesely about the challenge for visiting teams in Kaunas.

A new personal best in Europe’s premier club competition with 18 points for Laurynas Birutis fell short of a win. Captain Edgaras Ulanovas had 15 points, Keenan Evans finished with 13 points, and former resident at the Catalonia giant Rolands Smits combined 11 points with seven rebounds.

“They had better defense and made better decisions in the end,” recapped the losing head coach, “In the first half, they scored 56 points. If we want to win the game, we need to be consistent all four quarters.”

After missing several weeks, Lukas Lekavicius and Brady Manek both suited up but the Lithuanian point guard was held to two minutes of action and the latter did not play. Arnas Butkevicius (foot) stayed on the injury list.

Directly to Round 17 of the EuroLeague, Zalgiris plays Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Thursday.

Photo Credit:

Read the latest News