Barça defeat Zenit to the rhythm of Nick Calathes

The point guard was key in Barça's fifth straight victory in the Euroleague. He finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 12 assists for a PIR of 21.

Barça-defeat-Zenit-to-the-rhythm-of-Nick-Calathes
It was not an easy game for Barça, Zenit never gave up, but the Catalans ended up taking the fifth straight win in the Euroleague. It was a match in which Calathes shone (also Davies and Higgins), and in which Barça suffered more than expected to take the victory: despite reaching an advantage of 19 points, those of Jasikevicius ended up suffering against Pontika and Gudaitis .

Both Barça and Zenit showed, in the first minutes, why they are two of the best defenses in the Euroleague. Only six points per team in the opening minutes gave a good example of this, despite the fact that Pascual and Jasikevicius approached the challenge differently. Zenit gave the ball and the prominence to ex-Azulgrana Pangos, who was in charge of not only directing his team, but also playing shots at the limit of possession. Barça, on the other hand, relied on their excellent percentages in the outside shot to score the first points. The problem for Zenit was that Barça managed to better cover Pangos, nailing the Russians on the six points. When Pascual stopped the game, the electronic score was 12-6 and his instructions worked: at the end of the quarter 16-14.

Ponitka, with seven points on his locker, put Zenit ahead already in the second quarter, but Kuric quickly took it upon himself to put land in the middle. The Barça advantage (reached nine points with 33-24) was thanks to the great success of Barça in triples, with a percentage very similar to that of shots of two. With Calathes on the court, more balls still came to Kuric who continued to do his thing: score 3s.

With Pangos on the track, Zenit improved, which had a hard time scoring until the Canadian's entry. Mirotic entered, who played the last minutes of the first half, and Barça already placed the advantage around 10 points. The visitors lowered the defensive level (and also the aggressiveness) and allowed Barça to score with much more comfort, placing the electronic score at 44-33 at halftime.

Calathes and Davies

After the break, Barça came out determined to sentence the game. He maintained the excellent defensive task, and placed, despite the poor contribution of Mirotic, the advantage over 18 points. With the starting quintet on the court, the Catalans opened an almost insurmountable gap on the scoreboard, thanks mainly to Calathes. The point guard distributed the game and scored, playing at a very high level. He was the best of Barça.

Zenit came to reduce the distance to 10 points in the last quarter (69-59) and put fear in the body of a Barça that came to win by 19. The Russians increased the intensity and took risks, which led them to get closer on the scoreboard until seven points at 2.44 to go (73-66). But Davies appeared, with a series of magnificent actions (five points and one stopper) to close the game despite the insistence and faith of Zenit.



Photos from as.com
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