Credit: ZUMAPRESS.com-Scanpix
Credit ZUMAPRESS.com-Scanpix

In the battle of undefeated teams, FC Barcelona (3-0) came on top and remained perfect in the new Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season.

Player of the Game
Nikola  Mirotic
EFF
24
Nikola Mirotic
Points 22
Accuracy 6-15
Rebounds 6
Assists 2

Spanish powerhouse 79-78 (10-17, 17-15, 28-15, 12-20, 12-11) beat Olympiacos Piraeus (2-1) in front of their own fans and secured the third victory in a row.

With 7:13 left to play in the fourth quarter, Barcelona led 58-49, but Olympiacos made a final push.

Giannoulis Larentzakis made a shot from deep, Sasha Vezenkov added a jumper, and Olympiacos cut the deficit to only two points (56-58).

Moments later, Larentzakis made another three, while Shaquielle McKissic converted free throws and tied the score with 1:58 left to play (63-63).

Right before the beginning of the last minute, Vezenkov made a successful play, and the visitors regained the advantage (67-65). However, Kyle Kuric answered with both of his free throws, and with 33.7 seconds left to play, the game was tied again (67-67).

Sloukas tried to answer with a mid-range jumper, but his attempt wasn’t successful. Higgins tried to snatch the win for Barca, however, his shot also bounced outside the rim, and the game went to overtime.

During the extra period, the duel remained close, but Barca took the edge in the end.

Mirotic made four free throws in a row, added another basket in the paint, and with 1:11 left to play, Barcelona led 77-74. However, Tyler Dorsey answered with his free throws, and Olympiacos met last minute of the game trailing by one point (76-77).

On the other side of the court, Calathes missed a 3-pointer, Mirotic grabbed an offensive rebound, but the rim also denied his shot. Moments later, Dorsey drew Calathes’ foul, sank both free throws, and Olympiacos took the lead with 22.8 seconds left to play (78-77).

2-pointers this season

52%
20,7
Points made: 20,7
Accuracy: 52,1%
Place in standings: 5
Record max: 23
Record min: 19
Most made 2FGs: Aleksandr Vezenkov

Higgins tried to answer with another mid-range jumper, but his attempt wasn’t successful. However, Pierre Oriola saved Barcelona by grabbing an offensive rebound, drawing Moustapha Fall’s foul, and making free throws with 7.6 seconds left (79-78).

Sloukas made a last-second attempt, but the ball bounced outside the rim, and the buzzer declared Barcelona’s victory.

“I was very nervous before taking those free throws,” Oriola admitted after the game. “I’m not the greatest shooter on the team. But we won, we’ll take it. It was a good fight, but the best thing is to win the game.”

Mirotic was Barca’s top performer. The forward finished the game with 22 points (5/11 2PT, 1/4 3PT, 9/10 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 block, 5 drawn fouls, and 24 PIR.

Calathes added 9 points (3/7 2PT, 0/3 3PT, 3/4 FT), 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 1 turnover, 4 drawn fouls, and 22 PIR.

“Maybe a great game for fans sitting in the stands and watching on TV, it was very intense, Jasikevicius said after the game. “For me as a coach, it was a lot of suffering. With this crazy schedule that we have, I don’t know if we had enough time to understand what we’re trying to do.”

“Credit to the players who pulled it out. Games like this make the team stronger. But we have to learn a lot from this. Details especially. The reaction [in the third quarter] was fantastic. We got the crowd into the game, and they really helped us a lot. But then we went away from it. But we pulled it out so we’ll take it,” the Lithuanian coach added.

Barca took control of the game after halftime. Kyle Kuric and Nikola Mirotic made two 3-pointers, Brandon Davies added a jumper, and after a 10-2 run, Barca took a three lead (37-34).

Moments after Mirotic scored four points in a row, Cory Higgins sank a jumper, and the hosts were leading by 8 (49-41).

Olympiacos were led by Vezenkov, who scored 12 points (4/6 2PT, 1/3 3PT, 1/2 FT), and added 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 14 PIR.

“It was a tight game. But it was unlucky for us, said Giorgos Bartzokas. “They only scored at the end of regulation and overtime with free throws. We didn’t control the rebounding. But credit to our players. They had a great effort for 45 minutes. In my opinion, we deserved to win.”

Barcelona: Nikola Mirotic 22 (5/11 2PT, 9/10 FT, 24 PIR), Cory Higgins 11 (3/9 2PT), Brandon Davies 10 (5/10 2PT), Nik Calathes 9 (13 REB, 7 AST, 22 PIR).

Olympiacos: Kostas Sloukas 14 (3/9 2PT, 1/5 3PT), Sasha Vezenkov 12 (4/6 2PT), Tyler Dorsey 12, Moustapha Fallas 11 (4/6 2PT), Shaquielle McKissic 10.

Highlights

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Barselonos FC Barcelona
PirÄ—jo Olympiakos
38%
25/66
Field goals
36%
25/69
42
Rebounds
41
16
Assists
11
9
Steals
3
88
Efficiency
76
3
Blocks
2

Best players

Nikola  Mirotic
22 PTS
6/15 FG
9/10 FT
Konstantinos  Sloukas
14 PTS
4/14 FG
5/5 FT
Nick  Calathes
13 REB
12 DREB
1 OREB
Moustapha  Fall
8 REB
2 DREB
6 OREB
Nick  Calathes
7 As
1 TO
30 MIN
Olympiacos Piraeus
Few players
2 As
Nikola  Mirotic
24 EFF
45% 2P%
25% 3P%
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
14 EFF
67% 2P%
33% 3P%