Barça Regal are still improving and showed that on Thursday evening with a third win in the Euroleague against one of the finest offences in Europe, Besiktas, who had averaged 83.5 points a game so far. Good defending and excellent exploitation of lost balls by the Turks were two of the main reasons for tonight’s success at the Palau. Barça thus win this battle of the leaders and go top of Group D, tied on wins with CSKA Moscow.
Barça took the game straight to their Turkish opposition, and built up a strong early lead. Good defensive pressure by Barça Regal caused Besiktas to lose more balls than they would have expected, and the top scorers in the competition could only average a point a minute in the opening five. As the first period drew to a close, the home side was already a mighty +9 with the score at 16-7. But Besiktas, through Jerrells and Christopher, managed to close the gap to 20-18 by the end of it.
Tight up to the break
The Turks were soon back level, and the second period saw neither side build up any major scoring momentum. Besiktas went ahead for the first time at 24-26, and there were moments when it looked like the spark had gone out of the Barça Regal game. Saras Jasikevicius came on to add some more speed to the proceedings, while Jawai started finding the basket more regularly, pouncing on offensive rebounds. A Rabaseda dunk off an Ingles assist made it 34-32, but on the edge of half time, Cetin levelled on 34. However, there was still time for Wallace to sneak a late score for FCB and make it 36-34.
Slowly getting there
Xavi Pascual’s side knew they need to keep things calm and not panic. And that’s what they did. Besiktas were clearly starting to tire, and the home side seized the moment to finally start building up a wider gap. Jawai, who ended the game as top scorer with 14 points, Mickeal, Tomic and Marcelinho all did their bit for Barça Regal, and by the end of the third period the lead was up to double figures (52-42). The fourth period saw that lead cut in half, but the Turks were losing control of things and making far too many sloppy errors – and Barça punished them for it. Solid defending wore the clock down, and yet another European victory was in the bag.