Perfect Mirotic scores 22 points, Barcelona explode ALBA


By Johnny Askounis / [email protected]

FC Barcelona walked past ALBA Berlin, 96-64, to kick off the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season and wrap up the regular season opener on Friday.

Nikola Mirotic led the way with a record 22 points at the Palau Blaugrana. The seasoned forward averaged 18 points per ACB game at the start of his third season after leaving the NBA and kept the streak hot with 8/8 field goals, including 4/4 three-pointers. His 31 PIR marked another game high.

“I am very happy and excited about this game. We were looking forward to playing our first EuroLeague home game with our fans, and it was a very good job from the team, not allowing (ALBA) score a lot of points, he said describing the contest, “We were huge in defense; everyone scored, everyone played well. It was therefore a perfect start to the season. It’s all in the team. It’s always about my teammates and our coaching staff. It was just great to be back and enjoy this game that I love so much. I am very happy and this is just the start.

Rokas Jokubaitis, 34th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft with his NBA rights belonging to the New York Knicks, scored 12 points behind 5/5 field goal. Barcelona finished 61% of the two-point range and 66.7% beyond the arc in the dominant home display.

“I think we’ve been serious for very long periods of time. I think we figured out how to attack ALBA in these situations. When they changed the defense a bit, we adjusted again. I think it was particularly good because everyone played a lot of minutes ”, said Sarunas Jasikevicius, “Right now we have a small game of a lot of games in seven or eight days, and it’s very important that we all play together. We have all contributed.

“We had an excellent fourth quarter”, added Jokubaitis, “Like the coach said at halftime, we had to prepare for the third quarter and they came back a bit. We took their punch and he gave them double power.”

The Spanish champions reached the EuroLeague league game last season. The sixth consecutive victory against ALBA has given a positive start to next season.

Alex Abrines was absent. On the other side, Israel Gonzalez found himself with 11 players in his debut as head coach in EuroLeague, without Kresimir Nikic, Christ Koumadje, Johannes Thiemann. and Stefan Peno, a former Catalan powerhouse player.

“We are not 100% now” admitted the visiting head coach, “We knew that before the game. We miss a lot of players, a lot of injured players, especially in the “five” position.

“We knew it was going to be very difficult today but I think the team, at the beginning, were surprised by the level that Barcelona showed in the game”, he added, “We have never stopped working and I’m happy because we got Barcelona to get 15 turnovers. We faced the second half with good energy. In fact, we won the third quarter and the team were trying to do what they could. For that, we must rejoice a little. Of course, we are disappointed to lose, but our goal at the moment is to recover players, to improve, to do better for the next matches.

Luke Sikma scored a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double for Barcelona. Maodo Lo followed with 12 points, ten in the first half.

The team led by Jasikevicius went from a 3-0 start in the ACB to 1-0 in the EuroLeague. Surne Bilbao on the road follows on Sunday. The second round of EuroLeague transfers Barca to FC Bayern Munich next Thursday.

The German champions, 1-1 in the new easyCredit BBL season, will host LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne next Friday after a German Cup match against Telekom Baskets Bonn on Sunday.

Photo credit: Barca Twitter

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