Guess FC Barcelona does have that “killer instinct” after all.
Just three days after head coach Xavi Pascual called out his team a bit for lacking “el instinto asesino” following a “mere” ten-point win over Maroussi BC and a week after Valencia brought Barça’s 26-game winning streak to a halt with a three-point dagger, the Spanish juggernaut showed no mercy in dispatching Gran Canaria 2014 by a score of 105-55 on Sunday.
Gran Canaria (now 9-11 and tied for ninth place on the ACB table) was the team that precipitated that win streak, when in October, the team defended its home court against Barcelona and held on for a 67-65 win. That would be the last loss for Barça until late January.
On Sunday afternoon, however, FC Barcelona put on a virtual basketball clinic at Palau Blaugrana for the 5,166 in attendance (not to mention the pitiable Gran Canaria roster), twice doubling up Gran Canaria’s score late in the game at 90-45 and 94-47. Juan Carlos Navarro put in 23 points, including six three-pointers, for the now 29-2 Barcelona (18-2 in ACB play) and, if you think Gran Canaria was shut down on offense, consider that Jaycee Carroll accounted for 23 of the 55 points his team managed.
Even more astounding is the fact that Gran Canaria was actually *leading* 14-10 in the first quarter before taking the 95-41 thumping over the game’s remainder.
By the time it was over, Pascual was able to empty the bench, producing something of a mutant box score in which Roger Grimau played just under 20 minutes (and still managed to total three assists and two boards to go with zero points) while Ricky Rubio was on court for fewer than 13 minutes and Terence Morris took a DNP.
The message to European basketball: Winning streak or no, Barcelona isn’t going anywhere. This is still the team to beat.