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Nocioniand Navarro. PHOTO: ACB Photo / J. Izarra

[[DES_1]] Fifth defeat in the Liga Endesa. FC Barcelona were defeated this Saturday by 76 to 72 away to Laboral Kutxa in a match that always saw the Blaugrana trail behind the Basque team. In the final minutes Pascual’s men drew level thanks to Tomic’s effort, but a basket from Nocioni and Navarro’s failed attempt to force overtime was enough to seal the loss for the Catalans. The next match, away to Fenerbahçe, promises to be exciting.

Trailing behind the Basques

The Blaugrana found themselves trailing behind Laboral Kutxa in the opening 20 minutes. The Basque team’s fantastic accuracy from the exterior made it difficult for Barça to defend effectively. The opening 8-6 scoreline went to 23-14 (min 8) after a three pointer from Hodge and a good attacking performance from Pleiss. The nine-point advantage for Scariolo’s men, however, started to dwindle at the end of the first quarter (26-20).

In the second quarter, Barça managed to stop Nocioni and Laboral Kutxa’s attack. The Blaugrana went on a 5 to 10 run thanks to Dorsey, and found themselves only two points behind the home team (34-32, min 16). However, San Emeterio quickly reestablished Laboral Kutxa’s lead with a three pointer. The teams went to the beark with 46 to 39 on the scoreboard.

Barça’s fighting spirit

After the break, Papanikolaou, Barça’s best player in the quarter, scored a three pointer and brought Barça within one on 27 minutes (52-51). But Laboral Kutxa hit back once again with a three pointer from San Emeterio. The third quarter came to an end with 57 to 53 on the scoreboard.

In the final ten minutes Barça fought back to a one-point deficit (57-56) and the Basques, with a seven point run, once again stamped their dominance on the match (64-56, min 35). Nocioni, forced by Lorbek to move beyond the three point line, really hurt Pascual’s team with three pointers and assists (66-60). In the final minutes of the match Navarro, with two free throws, brought Barça close to their rivals. However, a misunderstanding on defence allowed Causeur to score (72-68, min 39). But Huertas and Tomic brought Barça level (72-72) with 30 seconds left on the clock. Nocioni was quick to sink a basket, which forced Navarro to attempt to tie the match up but the Basque team’s defence was up to the task.

MATCH FACTS

Baskonia, 76
FCB, 72

Laboral Kutxa: Heurtel (0), San Emeterio (8), Causeur (10), Nocioni (19) and Pleiss (17) -starting five-; Mainoldi (3), Hanga (3), Hamilton (7), Hodge (5), Jelínek (4).

FC Barcelona: Huertas (7), Navarro (9), Papanikolaou (10), Nachbar (2) and Tomic (12) -starting five-; Dorsey (8), Sada (2), Todorovic (0), Oleson (10), Lorbek (7), Lampe (5).

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