31 assists. And 103 points. In one game. These are some of the numbers that got the attention of the basketball community after Thursday evening games that were played in the Euroleague when FC Barcelona convincingly won on the road against Alba Berlin (103-67).
In terms of points, 5 players in double digits and every single player contributing with points seem to tell the whole story. As usual, Mirotic did what Mirotic does best – scoring points. And he did this in a pretty impressive manner: he did not miss a shot from the 2 points territory; he had 8 out of 8 for 2 points shooting on his way to a game high of 18 points.
But Mirotic was not the only one: other players stepped up their game, with Alex Abrines in particular grabbing some headlines too. His 3 points shots early in the game (4 out of 4 for him in the first quarter!) were decisive for Barca getting a comfortable lead and this helped Abrines to get to a total of 17 points (second highest for his team) in 17 minutes spent on court (with a remarkable 5 out of 6 for 3 points shooting!!!).
When it comes to the 31 assists, Nick Calathes (with 12) and Thomas Heurtel (with 6) were the major contributors. And, while 103 points which is the highest number of points scored in a game this season in Euroleague (the previous record – 100 points – was achieved by Real Madrid in Round 6 when they won 100 – 82 against FC Bayern Munchen) is a reflection of the scoring power that Barcelona has, the number of assists is a distinctive sign of the unselfish basketball style promoted by Sarunas Jasikevicius! One more thing to add: according to Barca basketball website, this is a record for the Lithuanian as a coach of any team.
Some critics might argue that Alba Berlin did not have all players fit for the game and not the right environment for preparation. However, these facts do not take away any merits from Barca playing away from home. It is of course early days but, considering it is a long season, I am pretty sure some other notable performances will be produced by this team.
Alex Radu is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching Basketball at University of Worcester (England/UK). He has coached various teams at different levels of the game at both club and national team level, including Cardiff Archers (Associate Head Coach – in WBBL/Women Basketball League, UK); Worcester Wolves (Assistant Coach – in BBL /British Basketball League, UK); Romania U20 Women National Team (Assistant Coach) and Romania U18 Women National Team (Assistant Coach – at European Championship Division B); Wales U20 Men National Team (Head Coach) and Wales Senior Men National Team (Assistant Coach – at European Championship for Small Countries); Romania Women National Team (Assistant Coach – at Women Eurobasket 2015).