Credit: ZUMAPRESS.com-SCANPIX
Credit ZUMAPRESS.com-SCANPIX

FC Barcelona (14-2) will host UNICS Kazan (10-6) this Wednesday night in what is expected to be one of the hottest games of the season. 

Free throws this season

72%
9,4
Points made: 9,4
Accuracy: 71,6%
Place in standings: 18
Record max: 16
Record min: 1
Most made FTs: Mario Hezonja

The Blaugrana remain on the top in the standings after a successful double-round week on the road. The Russian powerhouse has won nine of its last eleven games, showing power in offense and an increasing improvement on defense. 

Sarunas Jasikevicius spoke before the upcoming game, admitting they are not only winning but surviving as a team with many injuries.

"Nigel Hayes is still in Athens. Cory (Higgins) and Nick (Calathes) are improving, but it is unlikely they will play tomorrow. Let's see after Christmas. Sergi (Martinez) could begin to practice in a few days", the Lithuanian coach explained. 

Jasikevicius praised what UNICS has been doing in the last weeks, climbing in the standings and becoming probably the biggest surprise of the season so far. 

"In the last 10 rounds, they have the best offensive rating and the second defensive one. They are in really good shape, they have confidence. We will need to do a really good job if we want to keep winning", he added. 

Asked if it is difficult for him and his staff to keep his players focused each game, Jasikevicius answered clearly. 

"Pressure? Most of us are millionaires. What would say to people who are looking for a job? It is a luxury to win eight games in a row. We are the luckiest in the world. No pressure at all.

I told you weeks ago. If you can't deal with the pressure, you just look for another team. Not everyone can cope with it. It's not easy to play in Barcelona", he ensured. 

One of the most exciting stories about the game is Mario Hezonja's return to the Palau Blaugrana. The Croatian forward began his career in Barcelona back in 2013 before moving to the NBA. 

Jasikevicius coincided with him a few years ago, revealing Mario was a shy youngster.

"He was one of the most talented guys I have ever seen. He is finding his spot in Kazan, becoming the team's leader. There is no doubt he is talented. He has stepped up in the last weeks, it's clear", analyzed Barcelona's coach. 

Finally, the 45-year-old coach wanted to give his opinion about the new COVID-19 restrictions in Catalonia.

"I will try to choose the best words. I am tired of this virus. I don't understand why there was so much pressure to get vaccinated, and now some people say this will take longer than expected. For me, it has not been easy so far. I disagree with authorities' decisions, but I respect them".

On the other hand, Velimir Perasovic warned his team about how difficult will be the game against the Euroleague leader.  

"We must play good defense on Mirotic, but it's not only him, but Kuric, Davies... a lot of great players in that roster, so our basketball will have to be excellent to stay in the game," the Croatian coach said. 

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2022-01-10
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FC Barcelona
UNICS Kazan
49%
1 Position
Field goals
47%
5 Position
36,69
1 Position
Rebounds
33,25
10 Position
19,13
1 Position
Assists
16,38
9 Position
6,19
13 Position
Steals
9,25
1 Position

Teams leaders

Nikola  Mirotic
17,2 PTS
67% 2P%
49% 3P%
Isaiah  Canaan
14,5 PTS
48% 2P%
47% 3P%
Nikola  Mirotic
5,9 REB
4,9 DREB
1,1 OREB
Tonye  Jekiri
6,9 REB
4,3 DREB
2,6 OREB
Nick  Calathes
5,7 As
2,1 TO
25 MIN
Lorenzo  Brown
5,6 As
2,8 TO
29 MIN