Pangos, Kuric shine as Barcelona cruises
FC Barcelona Lassa took another step towards the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs by downing Herbalife Gran Canaria 93-64 at Palau Blaugrana on Tuesday. Barcelona improved to 16-11 in the standings, remains fifth overall and could mathematically qualify for the playoffs on Wednesday if other results go its way. Gran Canaria dropped to 7-20 and is ranked 14th among 16 teams. Kevin Pangos led the winners with 19 points, Chris Singleton added 16, Kyle Kuric had 14, Pau Ribas 12 and Rolands Smits 10 for Barcelona. D.J. Strawberry paced Gran Canaria with 15 points, Oriol Pauli added 13 and Jacob Wiley had 11 for the visitors. Barcelona led 22-19 after 10 minutes and improved its margin to double digits, 33-23. Strawberry and Marcus Eriksson allowed Gran Canaria not only to rally, but to take a 38-39 edge soon after the break. Barcelona found a scoring reference in Singleton, who joined forces with Ribas and Pangos to break the game open at 63-46 at the end of the third quarter. Nothing changed after that as Barcelona cruised to an important win.
Strawberry and Aleksander Balcerowski got Gran Canaria going with back-to-back triples, but Pangos and Singleton quickly stepped up to put Barcelona ahead, 8-6. Ondrej Balvin hit a baseline jumper and a three-point play by Wiley restored an 8-11 Gran Canaria edge. Pangos and Singleton kept pacing the hosts, hitting a three-pointer apiece for a 16-13 advantage. Xavi Rabaseda hit a step-back jumper and Wiley dunked, but Smits and Thomas Heurtel established a 22-19 Barcelona lead after 10 minutes. Kuric joined the three-point shootout early in the second quarter and a layup-plus-foul by Jaka Blazic boosted the hosts' margin to 28-21. Eriksson took over with a backdoor layup, but Pierre Oriola and Kuric made it a double-digit game, 33-23. A floater by Strawberry ignited a 0-7 run that Rabaseda capped with a triple for a 33-30 Gran Canaria deficit. Ante Tomic dunked and Kuric struck from beyond the arc, but 5 unanswered points by Strawberry kept the visitors within 38-35 at halftime. Pauli took over with a reverse layup soon after the break and a floater by Eriksson gave Gran Canaria a 38-39 edge, after a 0-9 run. Ribas answered from downtown and Barcelona found a new go-to guy in Singleton, who struck twice from beyond the arc and added a fast break dunk for a 49-44 Barcelona lead. Pangos followed a baseline jumper with a triple and Oriola soon restored a double-digit margin, 56-46. Kuric buried another three-pointer and got help from Pangos and Smits to break the game open at 63-46 after 30 minutes. Kuric took over with an acrobatic layup early in the fourth quarter, Smits added a layup and a three-pointer by Pangos capped a mammoth 19-0 run that sealed the outcome, 70-46. Nikola Radicevic scored in penetration, but Ribas did better with consecutive triples. By the time Pangos added another one from beyond the arc, everything was said and done at 79-51 and Gran Canaria never recovered.
Kuric had an outstanding shooting performance against his former team, making the difference in this game. Kuric finished the game with 14 points on perfect shooting (1 of 1 two-point shots, 4 of 4 from downtown) in less than 19 minutes off the bench.
Barcelona led 51-46 midway through the third quarter and improved its defense after that. Meanwhile, Pangos and Kuric fueled a 19-0 run that boosted the hosts' lead to 65-46 early in the fourth quarter. Gran Canaria kept trying, but Barcelona had plenty of time to celebrate the win.
Barcelona downed 19 three-point shots to tie its club record in the EuroLeague. Barcelona previously hit 19 three-point shots against Anadolu Efes Istanbul on March 29, 2018. Buducnost VOLI Podgorica holds the all-time record with 21 three-point shots against KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on November 15, 2018. Montepaschi Siena was the only other team to hit 19 three-point shots in a EuroLeague game; it did so against Asseco Prokom Gdynia on November 9, 2012.
Did you notice?
Gran Canaria allowed its opponents to score 58% of its two-point shots entering this game. It managed to limit Barcelona's two-point shooting percentage to 41.4%; the hosts hit 12 of 29 shots inside the arc. Barcelona excelled from beyond the three-point line (19 of 28, 67.9%), so protecting its paint was not enough for the visitors.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Thursday. Barcelona visits FC Bayern Munich and Gran Canaria welcomes Olympiacos Piraeus. It will be the Greek powerhouse's first-ever visit to the Canary Islands.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019