FC Barcelona Lassa v Darussafaka Dogus Istambul: Patience leads to victory to end year on a high (81-77)

FC Barcelona Lassa v Darussafaka Dogus Istambul: Patience leads to victory to end year on a high (81-77)

Bartzokas' team finish the first round of fixtures with an important win that gives them their seventh victory and allows the Catalans to look ahead to 2017 with optimism

Barça Lassa have beaten Darussafaka Dogus Istambul 81-77 in a game that the Catalans had to work hard to win until the very end. Tomic, Rice, Vezenkov and Doellman were the key men that helped secure a crucial victory in the last fixture of the Euroleague first round. Tomic and Rice top scored with 16 and 13 points respectively.

One of the most dangerous away teams in the European league were the opposition on the night and Barça wanted to add to their victory against the Italians earlier in the week in order to finish 2016 on a high. It wasn't easy and the Turkish team started in confident mood with a 5th minute score of 15-9 to the visitors. The blaugranas weathered the initial storm and started to control the game a little more. Tomic was particularly influential and Navarro and Doellman helped keep the scoreboards close by the end of the first quarter (22-19).

Advantage to the Turkish team

A lack of precision took hold at the start of the second quarter and both teams were struggling to find their rhythm with their attacks lacking an end product and breaking down often. This led to a low-scoring quarter. Even so, Alex Renfroe and Vezenkov overturned the deficit and put the home team in front by the 18th minute with a score of 35-34.

Vezenkov's score was the 30,001 point in FC Barcelona's history in the Euroleague. This historic achievement meant Barça were the third team to reach this landmark in the competition after CSKA and Baskonia. The game became tense and the Turkish team scored two three pointers in succession to regain the lead and reach the break with a five point advantage (40-35).

Brilliant blaugrana reaction

The break gave Barça some much needed respite and they started the third quarter in the mood to regain control of the game. Bartzokas' men showed character and managed a spectacular 14-0 period of domination that put them nine points ahead by the 25th minute. This would prove to be the biggest advantage of the game and three three pointers from Rice, Navarro and Doellman gave the crowds something to cheer.

Barça were on form and the away side didn't know how to stop the blaugranas. Barça continued to play well but Blatt's team reacted thanks to seven unanswered James Anderson points, who top scored in the game with 21 points, leaving the away side trailing by a single point (53-52). The match was very close again and Tomic scored twice to give the Catalans a slight two point advantage by the end of the third quarter.

It was proving to be a great game at the Palau and neither of the teams were able to pull away. The fourth quarter was as tight as the third with the defences on top. Vezenkov scored and then Rice managed to net a spectacular three pointer which put the home side 72-68 two minutes from the end of the encounter.

With little time left on the clock, David Blatt's side didn't make it easy and they fought until the very end. Barça were patient and intelligent and they were able to close out the game. The victory was an important one which allowed them to keep climbing the league table and gave the Catalans cause for optimism in the Euroleague ahead of the second round of fixtures.

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