Mirotic rescues Barça from the Russian trap

Barça and CSKA put on a good show at the Palau, with great offensive and alternative actions on the scoreboard. But they also offered an excellent example of the importance of defense in European basketball, where both combined very high-level minutes with others where they were widely outmatched by their rival. A tactical game, between Itoudis and Jasikevicius, the one who won the second (81-73). Mirotic had a lot to do with it: he signed 21 points.

From the first moment CSKA made it clear that it was going to be a very uncomfortable team. He collapsed whenever he could on Mirotic and took advantage of the pairings in which his players were taller to hurt the Catalans in defense. The Barça lived of the penetrations of Calathes and of the shot of medium distance of Jokubaitis, being unable to find other ways to score. Merit of the defense of a CSKA that sought to get off the scoreboard from the triple. He failed, failing all six attempts, leaving the Palau unusually low 13-13 after ten minutes of play.

It was evident that the score was going to increase as the match progressed, either because of defensive relaxation or because of the ability of both to find other routes to the basket. The first to do so was Jasikevicius, who with Kuric’s entry put his team ahead. The Indiana player not only scored from the outside, his specialty, but also added more speed to the crash. Mirotic took 17 minutes to score his first two points, in Calathes’ second assist throughout the game.. An excellent yardstick for CSKA’s efficient defense, which was still being denied from outside the perimeter. At the end of the first part Calathes found both Mirotic and Kuric and Barça opened a gap (38-27) maintaining a seriousness and defensive organization of the highest level.

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Voigtmann, lethal

With Shengelia and Clyburn far from their level it was Voigtmann who assumed leadership at CSKA. Three consecutive triples forced Jasikevicius to stop the match, visibly upset with Mirotic, who was late to score shots. And the bleeding for Barça continued … Unable to stop the outside shot (both to Voigtmann and Shengelia) lRussians took the lead (45-51): everything that did not enter them in the first two quarters entered the third, in a scoring display by Itoudis’ team in the face of Barça’s inability to defend themselves against the Russian offensive. Kurbanov’s pressure on Calathes, who had to retire injured, It was very effective and the part of the Russians devastating in the third quarter (13-33).

Despite the bad third quarter, Barça still had plenty of options to win the game. They started the final quarter with an 11-1 run led by Laprovittola who did find Mirotic and Davies (64-64). The Montenegrin assumed the responsibility of deciding a very close match, playing his best minutes, scoring and taking key rebounds for the outcome of the crash. The excellent defense of the Russians failed at the worst moment and Barça did not miss the opportunity.

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