The Barça Lassa basketball team have lost another game in Turkey, this time at Anadolu EFES Istanbul by a narrow margin of 72-68. A sixth win in the Euroleague at an arena where only CSKA have won this season was never going to be a simple task. The mission wasn’t helped by a poor start, but a 0-13 streak and two late threes from Justin Doellman and Tyrese Rice were on the way to causing a famous comeback before a late 2+1 put paid to all that good work.
The game had started with the Turks storming off to an 11-3 lead, whereupon a Georgios Bartzokas timeout did the trick and a Holmes 3-pointer in a 0-5 streak got things back on course. Four from Tomic had it at 21-15 by the end of the first period.
The fine understanding between Alex Renfroe and Rice was keeping Barça Lassa afloat, and with the difference hovering at around four points they looked ready to make the pounce. But precipitation in the Catalan attack led to the Turks going back to +12, with things standing at 36-28 by the break.
Barça Lassa relied on Tomic and Claver to start cutting down the home lead, but some erratic play allowed the Turks to snatch a 9-0 run to go 48-32. If it hadn’t been for some fine defence from Rice and a couple of threes from Doellman and Koponen it would have been game over. But Barça were still in it. Just.
At 54-45, Barça Lassa knew they needed tight defending to prevent all their good work at one end going to waste at the other, and guided by Rice and yet more long range sharp-shooting from Doellman and Koponen they did just that. An impressive 0-13 suddenly had the Catalans back to within two (54-52). Now it was anyone’s game.
The atmosphere was roasting, with points being exchanged at either end until finally Tyrese Rice (who led today’s scoring with 22) had Barça leading at 66-68. But that ray of hope was immediately clouded over by a 2+1 for the Turks right at the end, and it all amounted to a frustrating four-point defeat.