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Five out of five in Europe. Two teams on contrasting form and from the same domestic league met at the Palau. Barça were 4-0 and Valencia 0-4, but this game was as tight as the ACB encounter just over a fortnight earlier. It wasn’t decided until the very end, when an 8-0 streak clinched Barcelona’s best start to a Euro campaign since 2014/15, when they went 8-0. Higgins, Hanga and Mirotic, with evaluations of 19, 21 and 23, led the way.
Barça were playing catch-up early on, but Claver and Higgins started producing the goods and two three from Abrines got things up to +6. But Ndour, Motum and Loyd were particularly troubling the Barça and everything was left to play for in the second half.
The interval brought a tribute to Jordi Trias, who announced his retirement a few days ago, and from then on we went to 54-54, 56-56, 58-58, 60-60, 62-62... nothing was budging.
It was all heading for a nerve-tingling finale, but suddenly the blaugrana machine sprang into action and that blissful 8-0 had the Palau breathing a sigh of relief. There was wiggling space between the team now, and when Higgins shot the three that made it 81-75, that was game over. Next up, a trip to Milan.
Barça: Hanga (13), Higgins (20), Claver (3), Mirotic (17), Davies (8), Abrines (8), Tomic (3), Oriola, Bolmaro (2), Kuric (9)
València Basket: Vives, Loyd (17), San Emeterio (11), Labeyrie (2), Ndour (11), Colom (9), Marinkovic (5), Dubljevic (12), Motum (8), Doornekamp (2)
Periods: 21-19, 44-41, 62-65, 83-77
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