FC Barcelona Lassa v Herbalife Gran Canaria: Navarro inspires victory at Palau (85-75)
Team captain becomes fifth highest scorer of all time in the ACB league as the Catalans beat the islanders to hold onto first place in the table
FC Barcelona Lassa have stayed top of the ACB with a convincing 85-75 defeat of Herbalife Gran Canaria, managed by former FCB coach and player Aíto García Reneses. The islanders made the Catalans work hard for their dues, but fine shows from captain Juan Carlos Navarro and Mallorcan Álex Abrines, with 16 points each, played key roles in leaving Barça 28-4, one win better than Valencia and Real Madrid.
The first half produced plenty of high drama. Barça looked solid at 38-24 with fourteen minutes gone, but the last six minutes before the interval brought an unexpected twist in the tale.
With good counter-attacks, defence and rebounds, but also the odd controversial decision in their favour, especially two consecutive 2+1 on Omic that ended with coach Xavi Pascual being sent off, Gran Canaria managed to fight back from fourteen points down to leading 43-44 on the back of an impressive 5-20 streak.
Barça needed some defensive restructuring and also to regain control of the game, but although they stopped the Canarian charge, as the second half progressed they found it difficult to put together any kind of meaningful lead. But a 14-9 streak, with Navarro bagging ten points in just eight minutes, boosted the cause, and also saw the Barça shooting guard surpass Joan Creus to become the 5th highest scorer in the history of the ACB.
Things were still tight going through the final period, although Barça still managed to look confidently composed despite the only very slender advantage. Five straight points from Abrines finally edged them into a lead that finally looked definitive. And indeed it did, with the +10 difference at the end ensuring Barça lass stay top of the regular season table for one more week.