Xavi Pascual praises his side as Barcelona return to Playoff race

Euroleague Basketball
Photo: Euroleague Basketball

Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual admitted that his side had nothing left in the tank and left everything out on the court after an exciting 100-98 win over competition favourites CSKA Moscow.

The dramatic overtime win lifted Barcelona to the quarter-final Playoff spots as they look to breathe new life into their lackadaisical Euroleague Top 16 campaign after a relatively solid regular season record where they had won six of their first seven games, en route to qualification but settled for a 6-4 record overall.

“My players gave everything they had, there was nothing left in the tank,” Pascual said. “They put it all in the floor, playing with maximum intensity and good concentration in a difficult game. We fought, never looked back and believed we could win. That faith allowed us to force overtime and win the game.”

Barca’s win over the Group F leaders CSKA Moscow in Catalonia was largely thanks to the clutch heroics of Justin Doellman, who came up with five points in the last 4.2 seconds of overtime.

Doellman nailed a three-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining to tie the game at 98-98 in overtime and then stole Milos Teodosic’s inbounds pass to Kyle Hines to hit an off-balance jumper. Nando De Colo had a chance to snatch victory for the Muscovites but his half-court shot missed the mark.

As soon as Doellman hit the game-winner, Barcelona’s fans and bench were celebrating, something that coach Pascual was not happy with as was still time on the clock.

“We looked for Justin off a timeout and everything worked well – a nice pass from [Carlos] Arroyo for him to shoot the three,” Pascual commented. “We put pressure, closed the passing lines and Justin had a lot of intuition, hitting a fantastic shot. We were celebrating and De Colo had the chance to score, there was 1.8 seconds left. Still, we are happy with the final outcome.”

“Carlos found me to hit that three-point shot and ie the game, then got the steal and hit the game winner,” Doellman added. “It is the second time I hit a game-winner this season and it is a great feeling to celebrate it with my teammates. It is a lot of fun to be out there. It was a matter of faith, of course. It was a very incredible game, very physical and everybody contributed.”

Barcelona host Real Madrid in the Euroleague el’Clasico next Thursday while CSKA face Laboral Kutxa in a top-of-the-table Group F clash.