Barça goes to Kaunas in ‘Final Four’ mode

Barça goes to Kaunas in ‘Final Four’ mode

Vesely and Mirotic make the Palau good with the 2-0 against Zalgiris


Barça beat Zalgiris (89-81) this Friday and put up a rosy 2-0 to achieve their third consecutive ‘Final Four’ in the Euroleague, a second match at the Palau Blaugrana that the Lithuanian team struggled more, executed by Jan Vesely and Nikola Mirotic.

Sarunas Jasikevicius’s team used their offensive talent to knock down a Zalgiris team that took the expected step forward after being beaten in the first game. Vesely, who reached these ‘playoffs’ in the best version of him as a Barça player, left 26 points and a PIR of 33, while Mirotic, with a great second half, also ended up being decisive with 22 points.

The culé team will travel to Kaunas to a victory to be able to reserve a place in the Lithuanian city and its ‘Final Four’. The host, against the ropes, stood up at the Palau, but Barça, very given to making the series long and losing good opportunities, did their homework to bring the fight for the long-awaited third European Cup closer.

‘Saras’ team had to sweat, put on work overalls, against an opponent who kept the game even until the end. Vesley’s 18 points were vital in the first half for a Barça without a completely aggressive defense. Even so, the best version of Zalgiris, with Ulanovas and Brazdeikis at the controls, was not enough for the visiting team, below halftime (45-44).

Those from Kaunas, in the ‘playoffs’ with Baskonia’s failure on the last day, sold their skin dearly, even with the irruption of Mirotic, author of 10 points in the third quarter. Kuric also scored and Vesley, who did the work of all the interiors, increased their numbers, but the game still did not go down (68-66). Laprovittola, in assistant mode, put that marker on the horn, giving Palau even more heat, facing the last quarter.

The visiting defense endured the Catalan arreones in the last set until the harassment and demolition of Barça was total. Jokubaitis joined the stellar duo of Mirotic and Vesley to open the gap with just over a minute to go, the time the Barça fan had quiet to celebrate that his team is plugged in.


–RESULT: BARÇA, 89 – ZALGIRIS, 81. (45-44, at halftime).


BARÇA: Laprovittola (5), Satoransky (6), Kuric (6), Mirotic (22) and Vesely (26) –starting five–; Sanli (2), Martinez (-), Kalinic (8), Abrines (5), Tobey (-), Jokubaitis (9) and Nnaji (-).

ZALGIRIS KAUNAS: Taylor (7), Butkevicius (7), Ulanovas (13), Brazdeikis (20) and Smits (8) –quintet initial–; Giedraitis (2), Lekavicius (5), Hayes (3), Birutis (10), Polonara (2) and Dimsa (4).

— PARTIALS: 20-21, 25-23, 23-22, 21-15

–REFEREES: Pukl, Panther and Hordov. No deleted.

–HALL: Palau Blaugrana.