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Vezenkov starred for Barça Lassa against Oklahoma City Thunders | VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB

The party in honour of the NBA arriving in town was almost perfect. FC Barcelona Lassa lost to Oklahoma City Thunder in a very tight and close game which ended 89-92. The game was eventful, exciting and was up in the air until the final moments. After the lead changed hands throughout the game Vezenkov had the chance to force extra time with a three-pointer but it wasn't to be. This however, is unfair on Vezenkov, who with thirteen points, along with Claver with 25 points, excelled.

The Palau Sant Jordi was completely full, with 16,236 fans, and they were treated to an end to end game. Both teams went for it from the start and Tomic, Oleson and Claver were in inspired form for Barça, whilst Westbrook and Kanter of Oklahoma put on a show. The Catalans were not to be outdone though and they had their own showbiz moments including a particularly good dunk by Dorsey.

Close encounter

The scoreboard remained close throughout the first-half with the two teams staying within a couple of points of each other. Perperoglou scored a three-pointer and Ilyasova responded straight away. To finish the first-half, Russell Westbrook showed his class and got the crowd on its feet with an incredible slam dunk.

With some key players missing, youth played a prominent role for Barça Lassa with Eriksson, Vezenkov and Peno pushing Bartzokas' team into a 35-28 lead, before Kanter led the north-american response. However, Barça were comfortable and the first-half ended 47-45 with everything to play for.

A night to remember

Two trampolines and four acrobats along with Rumble The Bison, the Thunder's mascot, made sure the break was a fun-filled affair. After half-time, Oklahoma came out and dominated the third quarter except for one minute at the end of the quarter in which Claver and Navarro scored three pointers to finish with only one point in it on 68-67.

The final quarter saw some exhilarating basketball. Oklahoma were ahead and trying to finish the game off but Barça would not accept defeat and kept coming back. It remained finely poised until the last few minutes when a missed three-point shot by Vezenkov left the Catalan team just short of a famous victory.

MATCH STATS

FCB Lassa, 89
OKC Thunder, 92

FCB Lassa: Peno (5), Oleson (10), Claver (25), Doellman (5), Tomic (10) – starting five -, Dorsey (2), Navarro (7), Vezenkov (10), Eriksson (3), Perperoglou (9).

OKC Thunder: Westbrook (12), Sabonis (8), Oladipo (10), Kanter (24), Roberson (8) –starting five -, Morrow (0), Christon (6),  Ilyasova (6), Abrines (6), Price (2), Huestis (2), Lauvergne (8).

Score by quarter: 25-26 / 22-19 / 21-22 / 21-25.

Referees: John Goble, Matt Boland, Damir Javor.


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