Navarro during the game

Navarro led the team through key moments / PHOTO: VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB

Barça are still finding their feet, and there is clearly some work to be done. They needed to pull out the stops to overcome Guipúscoa Basket (81-74) today, win that will boost morale after losing in the Euroleague midweek.

Missing threes

Barça desperately needed a win after the midweek setback, and Xavi Pascual knew that this was game that, at least on paper, was there for the taking. He ordered his players to take a route one approach, either through the centres or by exploiting penetrating runs by Abrines.

The first period went to plan. Macej Lampe led the early scoring with eight points in the opening quarter and not one shot missed. But the pole’s form was countered by some excellent play from Guipúscoa’s, Jason Robinson, who bagged 10 points to keep his side in contention at 21-17.

Xavi Pascual sent on Navarro and Tomic for the second period, but with 1/7 in 3-pointers and seven lost balls, things were not working out at all. Guipúscoa Basket punished the home side for such sloppy errors, and found themselves four up at the break 37-41.

La Bomba activates the Palau

Barça didn’t look any better as the third period got under way, with Guipúscoa Basket stringing together the threes to go ten-up (41-51, min 26). It was time for Juan Carlos Navarro. La Bomba changed the game completely, tightening up the defence and bringing out the best in Marcelinho and Tomic. Guipúscoa Basket still led at the end of the period, 53-57, but with Navarro on fire, it looked like FCB were about to turn things around.

Comeback

And they did, in just four minutes. Two from Marcelinho and two more from Navarro finally got Barça back in the lead, which they soon stretched to eight points (70-62, min 37). Guipúscoa Basket bounced back, largely thanks to star player Jason Robinson, and there was one in it with a minute to play (73-72). Scores from Marcelinho and leadership from Navarro finally secured victory for Barça, 81-74, who are now 4-0 and stay top of the league table.

MATCH STATS

FCB, 81

Guipúscoa Basket, 74

FC Barcelona: Huertas (21), Abrines (10), Papanikolaou (0), Lampe (10), Dorsey (2) --starting five--; Tomic (14), Sada (0), Navarro (15), Todorovic (2), Hezonja (2), Nachbar (2).

Guipúscoa Basket: Neto (9), Winchester (12), Robinson (26), Ramsdell (8), Doblas (6) --starting five--; Hanley (3), Huskic (0), Salgado (5), Olaizola (2), Cortaberría (3), Motos (-), Assalit (-).

Periods: 21-19, 16-22, 16-16 & 28-17