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Berlin's Hammond during the encounter. PHOTO: EUROLEAGUE

A painful defeat in Berlin for Barça in the first game of the top 16 stage of the Euroleague as a 10 point losing margin could turn out to be crucial in terms of point difference. Xavi Pascual’s team were not at their best despite a promising beginning to the game. Alba Berlin started slowly but their dominance on the offensive boards turned out to be decisive

Great start

The clash could not have started better for the visitors. After just four minutes they led 0-10 with the German struggling to get their game going. With seven minutes played the lead stood at 14 points for the blaugranes (5-19) yet slowly but surely Sasa Obradovic’s team came back at Barça. Berlin’s star player McLean led the fightback and at the end of the first quarter the blaugranes advantage was cut to 16-23.

In the second quarter the home side continued to improve and at one point they took the lead at 33-31. However, a resplendent Marcelinho Huertas come to Barça’s rescue and the visitors took a one point lead into the break at 39-40. In the third period, however, Barça’s game came apart. In the entire third quarter Xavi Pascual’s team managed a meagre eight points compared to Berlin’s 22. The home side dominated the boards and went into the fourth quarter with a comfortable 61-48 lead.

Defensive change

Barça changed their defensive tactics in the final quarter and it initially had an effect. A three pointer from Doellman and points from Tomic at the free throw line brought Berlin’s lead back to 10 before another three pointer, this time from Alba’s Redding set the home side on the path to victory. By the end of the match the blaugranes had failed to make any inroads into the German side’s lead and they suffered an opening defeat in the top 16 which means no there is no room for error for Xavi Pascual’s outfit.

MATCH STATS

ALBA, 80
FCB, 70

Alba Berlin: Hammonds (11), Giffey (0), Redding (16), McLean (16), Radosevic (16) - starting five-; Banic (4), King (2), Vargas (0), Stojanovski (4), Renfroe (11).

FC Barcelona: Huertas (23), Jackson (6), Thomas (7), Doellman (10), Tomic (8) -starting five-; Nachbar (0), Satoransky (0), Pleiss (0), Lampe (11), Hezonja (5).


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