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Thomas Heurtel stole the show with 23 points and 9 assists | VICTOR SALGADO-FCB

In a superb start to the Liga Endesa for Sito Alonso’s side, Barça Lassa emerged victorious against Baskonia at the Palau Blaugrana by 87-82 in an intense match that went down to the wire. Barça were forced to battle all the way, and Thomas Heurtel with his 23 points and 9 assists and Vezenkov with 19 points were the most decisive figures.

The hosts started strongly against a difficult opponent but lacked precision at times. With several key absentees from the starting line-up, this game was always going to be a real challenge.

Hanga provided five straight points as the Blaugrana battled back from behind, and Moerman helped edge them into the lead. Pau Ribas, after 11 months out injured, returned to a hero’s acclaim. But it was Heurtel who took command of the game with 13 points before the end of the second quarter.

Barça had begun to turn the screw by then, with a Moerman triple edging the game their way by 45-39. They might have pulled further ahead had Vezenkov not failed with a three-point attempt right before the break.

Solid in defence, ruthless in attack

The third quarter opened with a whirlwind of attacking play from both sides, with score after score. The Basques hurtled back into the game, and even raced into a whopping 56-67 lead before the quarter finished.

But a pulsating encounter would eventually swing in the home side’s favour. Barça Lassa’s lethal counter-attacking play and rock solid defence saw them roar back to lead 77-71. The pendulum would then swing the other way with Baskonia pulling it back to to 82-80 right at the death.

In a gripping finale, Hanga and Heurtel helped clinch the victory. It was the ideal start to the season, and now attention will turn to the clash against Joventut de Badalona on Thursday October 5 (9.30pm CET) in an all-Catalan affair.

Match facts

FC Barcelona Lassa, 87
Baskonia, 82

FC Barcelona Lassa: Pressey (1), Vezenkov (19), Koponen, Seraphine (9) i Sanders (3) – starters; - Heurtel (23), Hanga (11), Moerman (10), Diagne, Navarro i Ribas (11).

Baskonia: Marcelinho (19), Timma (15), Malamanis (3), Granger (13) i Diop (11) – starters; - Voigtmann (3), Janning (11), Poirier (4) i Delfino (3).

Scores by quarter: 24-26 / 21-16 / 11-25 / 21-15

Officials: M.Á. Pérez, F. Calatrava, J. Rial.

Attendence: 5.562 fans at the Palau Blaugrana.

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