Barcelona endured Crvena Zvezda’s late comeback and claimed the 85-79 home win to get back on track and snap a two-game losing skid.
The Serbians came back twice from a double-digit deficit (50-39, 69-59) to make it an one possession game (78-76). The Catalans stood tall in crunch time, though, and a Nikola Kalinic three-pointer with 50 seconds to go sealed the deal for the “Blaugrana”.
Jan Vesely (10 points in the fourth quarter) and Nikola Mirotic led the way for the winners with 21 points apiece, whereas Facundo Campazzo was Zvezda’s top scorer with 24 points and four assists, on 7/15 shooting.
“I thought Zvezda was desperate and this was the difference: fighting vs. desperation. It was a final for them, it is one of their last chances [to make the playoffs]. We have to understand that we are entering the last phase of the regular season and teams are going to go crazy just to win the game, get the home-court [advantage] and take it.
First of all, you have to match that effort. We still have a long way to go. The most important thing in this EuroLeague, obviously, is to continue winning. But it was obviously an important win. In that sense, it is an important win coming after two losses,” Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius said afterwards.
This victory lifted Barcelona to 19-10 in the standings, tied with Monaco for third. On the other hand, Crvena Zvezda continued its free fall and dropped to 12-17, with the loss bringing them to the brink of elimination with five games to go.