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Huertas helped his team to victory at the Palau Blaugrana / VICTOR SALGADO-FCB

[[DES_1]]Xavi Pascual’s new-look Barça got off to a fine start in their league opener against Laboral Kutxa Baskònia, leading all the way and eventually winning 87-65. However, with Tomas Satoransky injured and with what Àlex Abrines described as ‘nerves’, it was clear that the team has not yet reached its peak.

Barça dominated early on, but Laboral Kutxa were clearly out to avenge their defeat in the Super Cup and made the most of some sloppy home defending. But the defensive rebounds started coming and once they’d imposed their authority, Barça were leading 24-12 at the end of the first period.[[DES_2]]

Baskònia, led by veteran Sant Emeterio, had more control of affairs in the second period and got back to 36-30, after which scores from Huertas and Abrines edged Barça back into a bigger lead, with threes from Navarro also contributing.

But the third period almost saw all the good work incomprehensibly thrown away, with no fewer than 10 turnovers in favour of the Basques. Thankfully, Laboral Kutxta failed to make the most of so many gifts, even though Bertans was storming away to an impressive total of 24 points. It was on the perimeter that FCB were winning the game, coupled with offensive rebounds and Abrines claiming 4/4 in three point attempts. In the end, and although it was by no means their most brilliant performance, Barça eventually won by a 21 point margin.

But there was bad news for Eriksson, who was stretchered off with just minutes to go. Tests on Sunday are expected to reveal how serious the injury is.

La fitxa del partit:

FCB: 87

Laboral Kutxa: 65

FC Barcelona: Huertas (13), Navarro (13), Thomas, Doellman (9) i Tomic (11)–starting five-; Hezonja (1), Abrines (18), Eriksson, Pleiss (12), Oleson (7), Lampe, Nachbar (3).

Laboral Kutxa: Iverson (2), Tillie (10), Heurtel (4), Johnson (12) i Bertans (24) –starting five-; Johnson, Ilimane Diop, Ryan Gomes (2), San Emeterio (11), Mamadou Diop, Causeur.

Periods: 24-12, 21-25, 13-12, 29-16.

Pascual happy

After the game, coach Xavi Pascual described his pleasure at getting the league off to a winning start. “It’s always hard to start a competition” he said. “We were okay in the first period, but our defence was not so intense in the second. We defended better in the third, but played badly in offence. In general, I think we played fairly well, but we lost far too many balls.”


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