Barça sent a clear message to the other Spanish and European teams tonight – this new side know just what they are doing and they can do it brilliantly! Xavi Pascual saw the side he sent out for their 2013/14 debut put on a superb performance to brush aside Laboral Kutxa, with his new signings already looking the part, and earn a place in Saturday evening’s final against Real Madrid.
Record points tally
The 54 points Barça chalked up in the first half set a new record for the competition and they raised plenty of eyebrows with their clear attacking intent from the off, as well as the fluidity they showed going forward – particularly considering the player turnover from last season. One of the summer signings -Bostjan Nachbar – was soon into his stride with 15 points before the break and with 27 points in each quarter the team showed a depth of attacking options more than able to match any style of play their opponents tried.
Solidity and domination
35-54 up at the start of the third quarter, Barça didn’t take their foot off the gas at all and continued to dominate in attack, whilst looking solid in defence, despite the constant rotations typical of an early season game. Laboral Kutxa were being overrun and although Nocioni never stopped trying, he was unable to counter Papanikolaou coming in from both wings, Pullen’s triples or Brad Oleson’s accuracy and the sides cwent into the final 10 minutes at 51-76.
Inevitably perhaps, Barça dropped the pace a little in the final quarter, but even so the clear improvement in Todorovic’s play and the courage of Mario Hezonja were two positive signs late on, as the game drifted to a final score of 73-98, with Real Madrid awaiting in Saturday evening’s final.