Bizkaia Bilbao Basket came up with a historical win at Palau Blaugrana, where they lost each and every time they played against the current European champions. It was a hard game for both teams which had to be resolved in overtime (78-83).
After the tough lost they suffered at the hands of Panathinaikos last Thursday, which left them out of “their” F4, it was interesting to see how Barcelona reacted in this home game against a solid ACB playoff team like Bilbao Basket. But the start was incredible for the team coached by Pascual, which started the game with a 15-3 run with Joe Ingles having a huge impact in his team’s game. Bilbao had big trouble with their inside defense, but after Mavroeidis and Hervelle checked in, the Basque team was able to improve their defense and rebounding and cut the difference at the end of the 1st quarter, 17-12.
But Barcelona needed this win, and they wouldn’t let Bilbao overcome the lead that easy, and some nice minutes by Ingles, Morris and Rubio, helped by a fair called unsportsmanlike fould called on Hernandez Sonseca, ended up with the largest lead of the game for Barcelona, 42-25. Then the electrifying point guard Aaron Jackson appeared for first time with a 0-5 run by himself, which would keep Bilbao Basket alive at halftime, 42-30.
If Bilbao wanted to stay alive in the game, they had to come up strong in the third quarter, and it looked that way as Aaron Jackson continued with his particular scoring contest, with a huge threepointer which let his team down by just seven, after having a seventeen points deficit some minutes earlier. But some huge baskets by Erazem Lorbek and Alan Anderson made it difficult for the Basque team to cut Barcelona’s lead even further, and the third quarter ended with Bilbao down by nine, 50-41.
But the guys coached by Fotis Katsikaris had nothing to lose, at all, so they came aggressive at the start of the fourth quarter and made a 0-8 run lead by Marko Banic and Axel Hervelle. It should be noted that the Belgian player ended the game with 6 points and 18(!) rebounds. After that huge run, it was pretty obvious that both teams would arrive to the end with good chances of winning it, and it was like that. Barcelona wasn’t able to make a considerable break, and Bilbao’s American players, Chris Warren and Aaron Jackson took responsabilities on the offense, as they scored their team’s last thirteen points, but we have to highlight Jackson’s performance, with the last four points of the game, including a huge dunk and and a lay up over Fran Vazquez which sent the game to overtime, 68-68.
It looked that this was the right time for Bilbao, having the momentum of a last minute overcome and playing against a team which played six games over the past two weeks, but Barcelona wanted to recover from Thursday’s tough loss, and Alan Anderson made a huge triple to start the extra time. But guess what, Bilbao has great shooters too, and Kostas Vasileiadis (eight points in OT) answered right back with another threepointer. Then Sada made two “amateur” mistakes turning the ball over, and Jackson put Bilbao up by one with a nice lay up. Lorbek missed the following shot and then Vasileiadis made a huge and definitive threepointer… and the rest is history, Bilbao won their first game at Palau Blaugrana, a huge game for their seasons targets: reach the playoffs and play in Eurocup next year, 78-83.
78: REGAL BARCELONA (19+23+8+18+10): Ricky Rubio (8), Perovic (2), Ingles (15), Lorbek (11), Grimau (7) -starting five-, Sada (2), Lakovic (3), Anderson (16), Morris (10), Vázquez (4), Ndong
83 – BIZKAIA BILBAO BASKET (12+18+11+27+15): Warren (11), Jackson (21), Banic (6), Mumbrú (13), Sonseca -starting five-, Blums, Fisher (4), Vázquez, Vasileiadis (14), Hervelle (6), Mavroeidis (8)
The article was written by Borja Tovar, you can follow him at twitter @btp_13