Home EuroLeague Barcelona clinch Final Four spot by sweeping Zalgiris

Barcelona clinch Final Four spot by sweeping Zalgiris

In a hard-fought game, FC Barcelona secured their place in the EuroLeague Final Four with a 66-77 win over Zalgiris Kaunas in Game 3 on Wednesday night. The win marks the third time that Barca has swept a playoff series, having also achieved the feat in 2012 against UNICS Kazan and in 2014 against Galatasaray Istanbul.

Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely were the top scorers for Barca with 14 points apiece, followed by Mike Tobey with 13 and Rokas Jokubaitis with 11. Meanwhile, Zalgiris’s top scorers were Edgaras Ulanovas with 13 points and Laurynas Birutis with 12.

The game got off to a slow start for both sides, with Zalgiris scoring only three points in the first seven minutes and Barca turning over the ball eight times in the opening 10 minutes. Despite Barca leading 3-13 after just over seven minutes, a late surge by Zalgiris allowed the team to close out the first quarter with a 7-0 run and a score of 10-13.

The second quarter was closely contested, with Zalgiris shaking off their first-quarter nerves, but Barca still managed to go into halftime with a 26-29 lead. In the third quarter, Satoransky got Barca going with all seven of their points, bringing the score to 30-37. Tobey then stepped up later in the quarter with three made triples, extending Barca’s lead to 45-61.

Zalgiris refused to go down without a fight in the fourth quarter and even closed the gap to 55-61. However, four straight points by Vesely and a triple by Alex Abrines allowed Barca to regain their lead at 55-68. In the closing stages, Jokubaitis sealed the deal for Barca with a key play against his former team, cementing the Catalan team’s spot in the 2023 Final Four.

Barcelona’s head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, a Kaunas native, will return to the Final Four with the Catalan giants for the third straight time. As a four-time EuroLeague champion as a player, Jasikevicius will aim to win his first title as a head coach in his hometown.

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