Just three days after their footballing equivalents had met in the Champions League, a wonderful atmosphere welcomed Barça Lassa and Olympiacos into the Palau Blaugrana, and the Catalans blitzed their way to an impressive win led by Seraphin (13) and Oriola (11).
It was an especially impressive result considering the Greeks were undefeated after four games, and it leaves Barça 2-3 and ninth in the 16-team division.
The first period will go down in history. In protest against the political prisoners in Catalonia, the 5,000 strong crowd stood in a silence that was only broken by the sound of the players on court and polite applause each time the home team scored.
That was for the first five minutes. Then, all as one, the crowd started to chant one word over and over: “llibertat”. Freedom. Even the Greek fans in the pavilion joined in with the cry.
What was happening on court was a minor concern, but the period ended 14-14.
Under normal circumstances, the second period saw Barça start to take command, and they led by six at the interval (32-26).
The break served the visitors best, and they promptly got back level (32-32), but that merely served as a wake-up call for FCB, and 3-pointers from Moerman and Pressey helped set up the first two-figure lead (43-34).
After five consecutive defeats, Barça needed a confidence boosting win against one of Europe’s finest teams, and that was precisely what they got. Brilliant defence and even better offence soon had them cruising home and at 62-43 with five minutes to play, the game was already decided.
There was even time to send on Victor Claver for his comeback after five months of injury. The team is right back on the right track. A good evening’s work.