Who says the preseason NBA/Euroleague games don’t matter? Certainly not BallinEurope readers, who are using the round of exhibition matches to compare relative levels of talent and play.
Well, more grist for the debate mill was produced last night as FC Barcelona surprised the Dallas Mavericks at the ‘Palau, 99-85. The occasion marked the third such triumph for the Spanish side in recent years and chases up the 2010 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Perhaps most significantly locally, even those a bit begrudging about European basketball may admit that this was a big win for Barça.
Elton Brand, starting for Dirk Nowitski, was good for 10 points and five rebounds; Nowitzki’s former Team Germany teammate Chris Kaman was high scorer for the Mavericks with 15. All Mavs were topped by the likes of Juan Carlos Navarro (looking in good form already; how old is this guy again?) and Pete Mickael, completely key to the Barça victory, who had 19 points apiece.
After a bit of a second-quarter run gave Barcelona a 52-50 lead at halftime, the Blaugrana opened things up in the third behind Mickael who outraced Kaman time and again to the bucket. The result was a 13-2 streak to make it 74-56 at halftime and a lead that Barça would never relinquish.
As Erazem Lorbek told media prior to the game, the match was key for Barcelona at this early stage in the season, with his team currently in a decidedly 13th place on the Liga Endesa table after losses to los Blancos de Rueda Valladolid and Gescrap Bizkaia Bilbao Basket in the first two weeks of play there.
With the Barcelona wins, Euroleague teams went a combined 2-6 in the 2012 Euroleague American and NBA Europe Live tours. It should be noted, however, that the two Ws were earned by two of the EL’s favorites for 2012-13 – Barça and Fenerbahçe Ülker – and that Real Madrid managed to run up 93 and 95 points in its North American games.