FCB Lassa blasts Bamberg, improves playoff hopes
FC Barcelona Lassa improved its chances to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague playoffs in Group F by thrashing Brose Baskets Bamberg 75-57 at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday. Barcelona improved to 7-6 and is not qualified to the playoffs yet, but will be if it beats Zalgiris Kaunas next week. Bamberg dropped to 6-7, but retains a slim chances to qualify. Bamberg will be fourth if it wins and both Olympiacos and Zalgiris win in Round 14, but eliminated in any other scenario. Alex Abrines paced the winners with 13 points, Ante Tomic and Justin Doellman each scored 12, Carlos Arroyo added 11 and Joey Dorsey posted 8 points and 9 rebounds in a balanced Barcelona attack. Brad Wanamaker tallied 16 points and 8 rebounds for Bamberg. Wanamaker had 7 quick points to give Bamberg an early 8-9 lead. Barcelona improved its defense and found a go-to guy in Tomic, who scored 4 points in a 10-0 run that gave the hosts an 18-12 margin after 10 minutes. Dorsey, Abrines and Doellman stepped for Barcelona on a 16-2 second-quarter run en route to a 43-23 halftime lead from which Bamberg never recovered. A moment of silence took place before the game to honor sports legend Johan Cruyff, who passed away last week.
First quarter: Defense, frontcourt puts hosts ahead
Wanamaker got Bamberg going with a baseline jumper and soon added a three-pointer for a 0-5 lead. Brad Oleson rescued Barcelona with a layup-plus-foul and Stratos Perperoglou bettered Leon Radosevic's jump hook with a bomb from downtown. Dorsey ignited the crowd with a wild put-back slam that gave the hosts their first lead, 8-7. Wanamaker kept pacing Bamberg with an acrobatic basket that Doellman matched with a layup. Barcelona kept powering the boards - 4 offensive rebounds in the opening five minutes - and an off-balance basket by Dorsey boosted his team's lead to 12-9. Bamberg tried to improve its ball circulation by bringing Nikos Zisis off the bench, but the guests kept missing shots. Abrines buried a six-meter jumper that caused the guests to call timeout at 14-9. Tomic drew a couple of fouls and made all 4 free throws, but a buzzer-beating triple by Wanamaker brought Bamberg within 18-12 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Abrines, Doellman make Barcelona take off
Zisis nailed a one-handed floater in the lane early in the quarter and Lucca Staiger bettered Arroyo's long baseline jumper with a three-pointer that kept Bamberg within 20-17. Abrines sank a mid-range jumper that Darius Miller matched with a driving layup. Arroyo kept pushing Barcelona with a triple from the top of the key and Doellman followed that with a fast break layup to get the crowd involved at 27-19. Abrines and Doellman made free throws to make it a double-digit game, 32-19. Janis Strelnieks tried to change things for Bamberg with a driving layup, but Arroyo found Dorsey for a wild alley-oop dunk and Doellman added a jump hook for a 15-point Barcelona lead. Doellman banked in a close shot, and after Strelnieks and Dorsey exchanged free throws, Tomas Satoransky gave the hosts a 43-23 halftime advantage.
Third quarter: Barcelona keeps safe lead
Abrines hit a technical free throw right after the break and soon added a three-pointer to break the game open at 47-23. Bamberg was held scoreless for more than two minutes until Wanamaker stepped up with a stop-and-pop jumper and a driving layup. A mid-range jumper by Zisis soon brought the guests a bit closer, 47-29. Doellman buried a turnaround jumper that Miller erased with a floater in the lane. Juan Carlos Navarro and Patrick Heckmann traded free throws and a jumper by Daniel Theis gave Bamberg hope at 51-35. Tomic banked in a jump hook and Abrines added free throws, but Theis singlehandedly kept the guests alive at 55-39. Tomic scored in the low post and Perperoglou added a layup that prompted Bamberg to stop the game at 59-39. Miller shined with a reverse layup to make it 59-41 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Barcelona cruises to key win
Tomic scored in the low post early in the quarter, as Barcelona opted for a veteran-filled backcourt, with Arroyo and Navarro together on court, to run the game clock down as much as possible. Strelnieks downed a jumper, but a free throw by Arroyo and a layup by Tomic gave Barcelona a 64-43 lead with seven minutes left. Arroyo struck from downtown before Bamberg stopped the game at 67-43. Wanamaker downed a mid-range jumper and Strelnieks scored again, as Barcelona struggled to get its big men involved off the guests' timeout. By the time Arroyo hit a close jumper, everything was said and done. Barcelona walked off the court knowing it depends on its own result to reach the next round - and Bamberg knows it will need to win and get help from others in order to make it to the playoffs.
Thursday, March 31, 2016