Nikola Mirotic adjusted his sights and with seven triples, his personal record in the Endesa League and the third best mark for Barcelona in the competition, he boosted with 27 points Barça’s victory over Valencia Basket in the first game of the quarterfinals of the domestic championship (84-74).
After performing below expectations in the Euroleague Final Four, the Spanish-Montenegrin exercised the leadership expected of him in the Catalan team. A hopeful symptom for a team whose objective is to reconquer the Endesa League.
Low the accurate direction of Satoransky (7 assists and 14 points) and the success of Kyle Kuric (14), Barça broke a game in the third quarter (29-18) a meeting even at recess (40-37).
For his part, Valencia Basket suffered from offensive haste after the break and bled to death on the counterattack despite winning the battle for the rebound (27-29). Chris Jones was their top scorer with 18 points.
As Mumbrú had pointed out, the aggressiveness on the managers of Barcelona allowed Valencia Basket to command from the start, fueled in attack by two triples from Harper (4-10, min.3). It didn’t take long for the Barça team to match the intensity of their rival and Mirotic equalized on the counterattack with the same medicine (12-12, min.5).
The appearance of Laprovittola, with six easy points in cuts along the baseline and penetrations, gave oxygen to the local offense, but the Taronja team adjusted the marks and held the pulse thanks to the talent of Jones andn the twilight of the first round, sparing in scoring (18-16).
The lack of aim and the fence on the painting stopped the scoring until Mirotic burst in with two triples and a third basket to spur Barça on (35-25, min.17). He stopped the Mumbrú party and Valencia Basket reacted with a quick 2-12 partial powered by eight points from Jones.
Mirotic reappeared to, with his fifth triple of the game, return the advantage to the local team at halftime (40-37). The power forward was the top scorer of the match with 19 pointswhile the American guard led the visitors with 14 goals.
The intermission was followed by a joyous exchange of points, where Barcelona imposed its variety of resources. If Valencia Basket pressed with the speed of Harper and Alexander’s dunks, the Barça team replied with the size of Satoransky in the post, two three-pointers from Abrines and eight more points from a Mirotic in a state of grace (63-50, min .28).
Although the Catalan team entered the last quarter with a fourteen-point lead (69-55), two three-pointers by Radenbaugh caused Jasikevicius to time out (69-62, min.34).
However, it was the precipitation and the poor defensive balance of Valencia Basket that allowed Barça to sentence the game on the run (81-65, min.37), with Kuric and Satoransky unleashed. The taronja box made up the score in the final stretch (84-74).
84 – FC Barcelona (18+22+29+15): Satoransky (14), Laprovittola (6), Abrines (6), Mirotic (27), Vesely (10) -initial team-, Kalinic (5), Tobey (-), Sanli (-), Jokubaitis (2), Kuric (14), Nnaji (-) and Martinez (-).
74 – Valencia Basket (16+21+18+19): Harper (15), Jones (18), Puerto (6), Claver (-), Alexander (9) -starting team-, Dubljevic (6), Webb (6), Hermansson (3), Radebaugh (6), Prepelic (-) and Pradilla (5).
Referees: Miguel Ángel Pérez Pérez, Rafael Serrano and Esperanza Mendoza. No deleted.
Incidents: First match of the Endesa League quarterfinals played at the Palau Blaugrana in Barcelona in front of 5,454 spectators.