Regal FCB triumphed 73-72 over Montepaschi Siena
A Group C showdown in Barcelona that wasn't to have any impact on the standings saw defending champs Regal FC Barcelona defeat Montepaschi Siena by a close 73-72. A fastbreak and layup by Ricky Rubio with 5 seconds to go allowed the guests to put the end to a great year for them with a prestige win. With this result, Group C ends with Barcelona third and a 7-3 record while Montepaschi Siena finished as group champ, an honor already clinched last week, with a 8-2. Fran Vazquez led the winners with 13 points and Roger Grimau added 12. For Siena, Bo McCalebb had 20 points and Milovan Rakovic contributed 10. The 21 turnovers committed by the hosts were made up with free throw accuracy as the 24 of 29 by Barca against the 20 of 27 by Siena proved to be decisive in the end.
A trademark rainbow shot by Juan Carlos Navarro oopened the score for Regal FC Barcelona, whose defense didn't allow Montepaschi Siena to find its first points of the night until the second minute through Milovan Rakovic. The hosts started looking for the big men as Kosta Perovic had four points in a row of his own and the turnovers weren't allowing Siena's offense to flow nicely. It was thanks to free throws by Bo McCalebb and Mailk Hairston that the guests tied the game at 6-6 and soon Ksistof Lavrinovic had a long jumper to earn Siena the first lead, 6-8. After Barcelona's timeout, McCalebb drove to the basket again for the biggest lead at that point, and then Hairston had his three-point play for 8-13. The defense of Montepaschi was forcing the hosts to svereal turnovers but Terence Morris and Victor Sada managed to tie the game with a 5-0 burst. However, a new turnover allowed McCalebb for another easy basket that made it 13-15 and another Barca timeout. However, the seventh turnover of Barca in the quarter allowed McCalebb for yeat another basket in penetration to put an end to the first period, 13-17.
The second quarter started with Fran Vazquez as protagonist in offense for Barca with four straight points to make it 17-19. However, the Montepaschi defense started working flawlessly in the next minutes, and the guests plyed smart in offense always finding the best option as Nikos Zisis, David Moss and Pietro Aradori alll left the Barca defense behind for easy baskets and Siena soared to a 19-27 lead, still forcing Barcelona turnovers. Thanks to perfect free throw shooting, Barca stayed in the game while Montepaschi's game was more controlled and faster as also free throws allowed the guests to stay at 23-30. It was then that the hosts reacted and found Erazem Lorbek first and Navarro later for open threes that allowed them to pull within 29-32. Rakovic and McCalebb were the main weapons in the organized Siena offense to leave things at 31-37 at the halftime buzzer.
It was a different game altogether as the second half started with a 8-0 Barcelona run including a Morris slam for the 37-37 and then a Ricky Rubio layup to put the hosts ahead and force the Montepaschi timeout with 39-37. Grimau drive to make the run a 10-0 but Siena reacted with McCalebb's three for 41-40. The defense of the hosts was completely different to that of the first half and that allowed them to control the tempo now. That defense and a great Vazquez saw the defending champs lead by 45-42 but Moss hit a new three to tie again. The game eneterd a phase dominated by individual plays that kept both teams going as Rakovic was the lord of the paint for Siena and Morris slammed for Barca. Pietro Aradori stepped up with five straight points for Montepaschi including a three, but Lorbek scored to close the third quarter with a 56-55 Barca lead.
More than one full minute went by until Hairston could score one from the line for Siena, and then another full minute passed as Vazquez fed Lorbel for an open shot in the paint for a 58-56 Barca edge. Stonerook fed Moss for an open layup that kept Siena in the game and then Victor Sada and McCalebb traded baskets for 62-60. Strong defenses didn't allow for easy field goals, as a good portion of the scoring arrived again from the free throw line. With a small line-up, Siena tried to run a little more but one single man by the name of Roger Grimau kept the hosts in the game with his wild drives to the basket for 68-67 and later for 70-69. Marco Carraretto blasted a three that put Montepaschi ahead by 70-72 and Grimau, who else, hit a free throw after that. With the ball in McCalebb's hands, Montepaschi missed an attack with 10 seconds to go and Rubio ran the court to lift a layup for 73-72 and 5 seconds to go. In the last play, McCalebb drove and gave the ball to Lavrinovic who couldn't find the way to the basket letting the win stay in Barcelona.
Thursday, December 23, 2010