Regal FC Barcelona registered its first win in Top 16 Group F by when it downed visiting Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv with seeming ease 85-65 at home on Thursday. Both teams were tied in Group H with a 1-1 records after the game, either in second place or in an all-tied group depending on the later result of Alba Berlin vs. Real Madrid. Barcelona's 15-2 advantage in three-pointers spelled the difference against Maccabi as eight different players among the hosts buried shots from long range. David Andersen pumped in 17 points, including a pair of triples, while Gianluce Basile followed with 16 points, with 5 three-pointers that helped Barcelona assert complete control after halftime. Ersan Ilyasova added 11 points, while Fran Vazquez had a double-double with 10 points and rebounds each, while Juan Carlos Navarro 12 for the winners. Barcelona's defense only permitted Maccabi 5 three-point tries in the game, forcing the game inside, where an 8-3 advantage on blocks hurt the guests. D'or Fischer led Maccabi with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Omri Casspi scored 11, but no one else reached double figures. Navarro shined early to lead Barcelona to a 20-16 edge after 10 minutes. Vazquez dominated the boards and joined forces with Gianluca Basile to boost the hosts' lead to 33-21 midway through the second quarter. Yaniv Green and Fischer brought Maccabi within 39-33 at halftime. Barcelona dominated the rebounds after the break, while Basile struck twice from downtown in an 11-1 run that broke the game open, 55-40, giving Barcelona full control until the final buzzer.
Fischer got Maccabi going with a five-meter jumper but Navarro followed free throws with a corner three-pointer for a 5-2 Barcelona lead. Eliyahu sank foul shots but Maccabi lacked ball circulation with Victor Sada stopping Arroyo. Ilyasova struck from downtown but a fast break layup by Arroyo kept Maccabi within 8-6. Casspi hit a mid-range jumper but Daniel Santiago scored over Charles Gaines while Navarro buried a fallaway shot to restore a 12-8 Barcelona edge. Yaniv Green made free throws but Barcelona improved with Vazquez on court. He set the crowd on fire with a put-back dunk that Arroyo matched with a layup. Sada nailed a seven-meter bomb for a 17-12 Barcelona margin. Casppi scored down low that Andersen answered with his trademark mid-range jumper. More free throws by Eliyahu and Navarro fixed the score at 20-16 after 10 exciting minutes.
Roger Grimau took over with a wild driving layup right at the start of the second quarter but Casspi also scored in penetration for a 22-18 score. Maccabi tried to power the offensive board with Fischer and Gaines together on court. Basile, however, finished a two-chance Barcelona offense with a bomb from downtown while Vazquez added a put-back layup to boost the hosts' lead to 27-19. Maccabi called timeout and Green nailed a four-meter jumper but Andersen followed a triple with a jump hook to make it a 12-point game, 33-21. Arroyo tried to change things with a corner three-pointer and added an outstanding driving basket for a 33-26 Maccabi deficit. Andre Barrett and Grimau buried back-to-back triples to keep Barcelona out of trouble at 39-27. Green sank another shot from the top of the key while Tal Burstein and Fischer hit consecutive jumpers to bring Maccabi back to life, 39-33, at halftime.
Fischer took over with a wild put-back dunk right after the break but Ilyasova stepped up with a baseline jumper to restore a 41-35 lead. Fischer kept pacing Maccabi with a jumper but Grimau answered from downtown to give the hosts some fresh air at 44-37. Brown shined with a backdoor layup - his first points tonight - that Vazquez matched with free throws. Maccabi struggled to find open shots now while Basile struck from way downtown for a 49-39 Barcelona margin. Maccabi called a much-needed timeout, as Barcelona dominated the boards now. Ilyasova and Fischer traded free throws but Maccabi had already entered the foul bonus. Vazquez did not miss from the foul line while Basile buried a corner three-pointer that broke the game open, 55-40, after an 11-1 run. Brown stepped up with a layup-plus-foul and fed Fischer for an alleyoop dunk. Ilyasova shined with a big triple and even when Fischer scored again, Andersen hit one from downtown to boost the hosts' lead to 61-47 after three quarters.
Green scored again early in the fourth period, as Maccabi tried to return to the game. Andersen, however, sank his trademark turnaround jumper while Ilyasova scored in transition for a 65-49 Barcelona margin. The hosts kept excelling in defense, while free throws by Andersen sealed the outome, 67-49, with 7 minutes to go. Both teams fought now for points differential, a critical issue in such a balanced Top 16 group like this is. Navarro sank a running "bomba" that Fischer matched with a put-back layup. Vazquez dunked it while Navarro scored again for a 20-point Barcelona margin, 73-53. Barcelona kept pushing the pedal, as Lubos Barton sank a corner triple and the whole team stayed aggressive in defense. Nothing changed in the final 3 minutes, as Barcelona rejoined the race to reach the Quarterfinal Playoffs while Maccabi needs to bounce back from this severe loss right away.
Thursday, February 5, 2009