FC Barcelona followed their drubbing of CB Valladolid with another comfortable win, this time in Europe against Budivelnik Kiev, totting up a massive 54 points in the first half and playing almost perfect hoops in the final period. Sada and Todorovic both sat the game out.
The win means FCB finish the group third, and will now face Fenerbahçe, Olympiakos, Emporio Armani, Anadolu Efes and Unicaja in the Top-16, as well as two other teams to be decided on Friday.
FCB flew into action at the Palau. Tomic and Navarro immediately found the basket, and the end-to-end pace of the match seemed too much for the visitors to handle. Lorbek led the team to an inspired ten-point lead after the first period (25-15).
Lorbek was again on fire early in the second. His two consecutive threes got FC Barcelona up to 38-25), with Budivelnik Kiev unable to get anything out of offensive rebounds and very feeble in defence, only committing two fouls in the opening quarter of an hour. Barça, meanwhile, looked in full control, and racked up the points with apparent ease – totalling 54 in the first half and as good as wrapping up the game.
With the job seemingly done and several minutes left to play, FC Barcelona were led into the third period by the individual flair of Nachbar. But with threes from Strelnieks, Lebedintsev and Minard, the Ukrainians did start clawing their way back into the game, and with 12 minutes left, were suddenly back to within ten (65-55). Pascual called for time-out. It was still too early for his players to think they could relax.
Kiev started the final period by narrowing the gap to seven. But that merely served to awaken Barça, who produced their best play in the final minutes. Tomic and Lampe quickly combined to get their team back into a 15 points lead, and from then on, there was no further reason for concern in the Palau Blaugrana. This had been a relatively simple win for Barcelona, but they won’t be getting any easy rides like this in the Top 16, when competition really will start in earnest.