Playoffs Game 5: Barcelona joins Final Four!
Just the second fifth game in European competition history featured one team that had battled all season for the homecourt advantage, Regal FC Barcelona, against another with the only two playoff wins without such an advantage all decade, Tau Ceramica. When the dust settled on Thursday, however, home was where the heart remained as Barcelona overwhelmed Tau 78-62 before a sellout crowd to win their best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoff series 3-2. Barcelona advanced to the Final Four in Berlin from May 1 to 3, where it faces defending champion CSKA Moscow in one of the semifinals. Panathinaikos and Olympiacos will meet in the other semifinal. Great early shooting and outstanding defense let Barcelona play ahead from tipoff to buzzer and manage leads that swelled to 21 points, 70-49, in the final quarter. Home-team hero Juan Carlos Navarro sparked the win with 16 first-half points on the way to 19 for the game, while Ersan Ilyasova matched his scoring, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished 4 assists. Jaka Lakovic added 16 points for the winners. Tau got 19 points on 8-for-10 two-point shooting from Tiago Splitter, 14 more from Pete Mickeal and 10 from Igor Rakocevic. The loss snapped Tau's four-year streak of Final Four appearances, while David Andersen became the first player to reach the Final Four with four different teams - Kinder Bologna, Montepaschi Siena, CSKA Moscow and, now, Barcelona.