Barcelona set a new club points record in the Euroleague with a 107- 79 blow out win over Turkish side Karsiyaka Izmir on Thursday night. The home side led for the majority of the game, with the visitors only holding the lead for a few brief moments early in the first quarter. Notwithstanding the final score, Karsiyaka didn’t lag too far behind until the third quarter where the lead got extended to 22 points.
Karsiyaka who beat Barcelona in Turkey in the surprising season opener of the regular season were greeted by a couple hundred fans as they came onto the court before the game. The best showing of any away side at the Palau Blaugrana thus far this season. The majority of Karsiyaka fans were nestled between two drum beating supporters clubs of Barcelona, and despite some added security, what followed was the best atmosphere of the season in the Palau. For the first half at least. Understandably the visiting crowd quietened down some as Barcelona put their stamp on the game.
Shane Lawal led scoring for the home side with 19 points, many of them coming from fourth quarter dunks, while impressive they were merely emphasising Barcelona’s win rather than earning it. The main difference between the two sides was Carlos Arroyo’s three point shooting, all 18 of his points came from long range, what makes this even more significant is that he only attempted seven of them, that’s 86% three point shooting! Arroyo only attempted one other shot in the game. At one point it even looked like he balked at taking a shot when he realised his foot was over the line and attempted to offload to ball to Ante Tomic in the paint.
Other notables for the home side included Tomas Satoransky who documented three steals and six assists and Tomic who netted a quiet 18 points and recovered seven rebounds.
For the visitors, Joe Ragland led the way with 26 points and had an overall impressive game shooting 67% from 2 point range, 40% from downtown and 100% from the line, as well as obtaining seven rebounds and two steals. The only knock on his performance was his seven turnovers, but that can largely be forgiven as he also led his side in minutes with over 36 minutes on the floor.
Which leads to a main contributor to the final scoreline. Barcelona’s minute and point spread was much more even as three of their players minute’s barely went over the 20 minute half game threshold. Whilst ignoring Ragland’s almost full game (which is exhausting to even think about) Kenny Gabriel and Kenan Sipahi also played over 28 minutes a piece. When you lack the depth to spread your minutes across your squad, score lines like this are inevitable.
For Barcelona one of the main take aways was that this game them a chance to get more experimental in their plays. In the fourth quarter especially it looked like Xavi Pascual was either calling up new plays or telling the players to get playful. Riskier and flashier passes were ended in in turnovers just as often as roof raising dunks. As they begin to gel more and more on an 11 game win streak between the Euroleague and the ACB now is the time to see if they can begin to take it to the next level in order to dismantle higher level opponents. And while the winning margin on Thursday was large, there is still room for improvement, but the team chemistry is high and the Catalan side are having fun as they win and take the top spot in Group C.
This loss drops Karsiyaka to a 2-4 record in the group and their chances of making the Top 16 are battling the clock as they have four more games to try secure a top four spot in the group.