Rolands Smits set career-highs for a playoff game with 12 points and a PIR of 17 for FC Barcelona in Game 3 against FC Bayern Munich.
Smits grabbed his turn in the spotlight
FC Barcelona has unloaded many weapons over the course of the season with Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius able to call upon a star-studded roster including the likes of the league’s all-time assists leader Nick Calathes, the regular season’s top-ranked player Nikola Mirotic and an assortment of regular difference-makers such as Brandon Davies, Kyle Kuric, Nicolas Laprovittola and Dante Exum.
One player who has rarely had the chance to shine, though, is Rolands Smits. The Latvian power forward, in his fourth season with the club, has been an irregular contributor to his team’s outstanding campaign, only reaching double digits in scoring on two occasions during the regular season – netting 11 points against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and 12 points against ALBA Berlin.
Smits headed into Game 3 at Bayern with moderate averages of 4.5 points in 16 minutes on the floor, with his main contribution coming through the opportunities he gives to Mirotic to take a break on the bench.
But the 26-year-old changed that by making a big contribution on Wednesday night, scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 two-point shooting in more than 21 minutes on the floor, becoming the only Barca player other than Mirotic to score in double digits. Smits also added 5 rebounds and 2 assists for a PIR of 17 – his highest of the season, and a reminder that he can be more than just a role player.