Barça earned their fourth consecutive victory, and the first in the Euroleague, away at Khimki in Russia. Kuric, Higgins and Calathes all played a prominent role, meaning Barça are still in second place in the European competition with a record of 13 victories and six defeats.
Khimki opened the game with three straight triples (9-2), with Barça taking a little while to get into the game. When they did, however, there was an intense exchange of baskets which continued throughout the first two periods. Kuric had scored two three-pointers to open the second quarter (28-32) and 16 points overall in the first 20 minutes.
Despite this effort from Barça's No.24, the Catalans were initially unable to pull away from their hosts on the scoreboard. The match eventually turned late in the first half, due also to Nick Calathes' 10 assists in the first period, and five more in the second. Smits' contribution helped Barça go into half-time six points ahead (48-54).
In the end, it was a comfortable final 10 minutes which saw the visitors ease to victory in Russia: 75-87. The next challenge is CSKA, the leader of the competition, who Barça will play on Friday 15 January at 6.00pm.
Khimki: Sheved (23), Karasev (5), Zaytsev (2), Vialtsev (3) and Booker (13) -starters- Jordan Mickey (11), Voronov (2), McCollum (10), Monia (-) and Bertans (6).
Barça: Smits (12), Pustovyi (5), Abrines (11), Higgins (18) and Calathes (8) -starters- Oriola (9), Hanga (4), Sergi Martínez (2), Kuric (18), Westermann (-), Bolmaro (-) and Badji (-).
Periods: 26-26 / 22-28 / 12-19 / 15-14
Officials: Borys Ryzhyk, Tomislav Hordov and Robert Vyklicky.