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Navarro in action during the game / EUROLEAGUE

The Barça basketball side overcame Zalgiris Kaunas on Wednesday by 82-72 in Lithuania to give themselves their sixth victory in a row in the Euroleague top 16 and their ninth win in 12 matches. Now they are just a win away from securing second place in their group.

Up and down first quarter

Xavi Pascual’s started the first quarter strongly but turnovers and a lack of fluidity meant they fell behind with Kaunas taking an early 13-10 lead. However, changes in the on court five gave Thomas, Pleiss and Oleson the chance to shine and they helped turn it around as Barça ended the quarter 22-16 in front.

Pleiss steps in

With Tomic in foul trouble, Tibor Pleiss stepped up to the plate and on both offence and defence he started to dominate the boards. A three pointer from Abrines gave the blaugranes a 31-19 lead. Zalgiris mounted a comeback with James Anderson scoring 16 points in the first half to leave the Lithuanians 42-33 in arrears at half time.

In the third quarter with three pointers from first Navarro and then Abrines, Barça stretched their advantage to 15 points at 60-45, helping them to ease the tension. The home side fought back but a steal from Doellman ended with a basket to close out the quarter with Pascual’s team 65-53 ahead.

Abrines crucial

In the fourth quarter the team kept up the rhythm of the previous three and looked to manage their lead in Kaunas. The advantage rose to 15 thanks to a three pointer from Thomas, but a surge from the home side gave the local fans hope. However, two three pointers from Abrines put an end to the idea of a Zalgiris comeback and the blaugranes closed out a 83-72 victory to record victory number six in a row and their ninth in this season’s top 16.

MATCH STATS

Zalgiris, 72
FCB, 83

Zalgiris Kaunas: Cherry (6), Milaknis (12), Anderson (24), Jankunas (2) and Javtokas (5) –starting five-; Lekavicius (5), Vene (3), Gudaitis (3), Songaila (10), Dimsa (0), Ulanovas (2)

FC Barcelona: Satoransky (12), Navarro (8), Thomas (11), Doellman (4) and Tomic (11) –starting five-; Huertas (1), Abrines (16), Pleiss (14), Oleson (2), Jackson (0), Lampe (2), Nachbar (2).

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