Regal Barcelona outlasted Maroussi BC 79-69
Regal FC Barcelona opened the Top 16 just the same way it ended the regular season, winning. The new victim was visiting Maroussi BC as the hosts won by 79-69 and no major problems during the 40 minutes. With strong defense in the first quarter, Barca managed to build a solid lead that only was threatened in the second half when Maroussi managed to forge a 0-10 run that was solved by the hosts thanks to straight threes. The win allows Barcelona to start with a 1-0 record in Group E, while Maroussi drops to 0-1. Juan Carlos Navarro led the hosts with 17 points, Boni N'Dong helped with 15 points and 12 boards, and three players joined in with 10 points each: Pete Mickeal, Terence Morris and Jaka Lakovic. For Maroussi, Jamon Lucas led all scorers with 24 points, Pat Calathes contributed 13 and Dimitris Mavroeidis posted 12.
A nifty move in the low post allowed Erazem Lorbek to start the scoring race for Barca. Both defenses started at high level, forcing long attack situations
on the rival and even some turnovers. Maroussi was struggling with the shots while on the other side, Lorbek found his fourth point, 4-0. Michalis Pelekanos
found the triple with a bank shot, but Barca replied fast to keep things in order as Juan Carlos Navarro lifted a trademark rainbow shot, 8-3. Maroussi
suffered against the hosts' defense, but with some good results in the offensive board, the guests at least had second options to try to come back. On the
other side, Pete Mickeal drove to the basket with no opposition forcing Maroussi's timeout. Kostas Kaimakoglou stole the ball but missed the clear fastbreak
option while Mickeal slammed on the other side for a 12-3 Barca lead. Things got worse for Maroussi as they could only shoot from behind the arc, but the
ball didn't go in either. Mickeal kept adding points closing a 10-0 run. Finally, Kaimakoglou found a space inside for another Maroussi basket with 90
seconds left in the quarter for 14-5. Barcelona kept doing its thing, scoring points from the paint until Jaka Lakovic closed the first period with a long
three to make it 19-5 after 10 minutes.
Jamon Lucas opened the second period with a lucky shot for Maroussi, perhaps a sign for better things to come for his team. However, the fast reply by
Terence Morris with a three kept Barca going. Lucas added a quick three-point play for his team, matching the whole scoring of the first quarter of his team
in one minute. Morris slammed on the other side becoming Lucas' nemesis in the first minutes of the period, but the Maroussi guard copied him for the 24-14.
Fran Vazquez appeared on the paint for the hosts with two straight dunks that brought the house down. Lucas stepped up for his 10th point in the period with
a three, and Dimitrios Mavroeidis added free throws to make it 28-19. However, Navarro replied with his own three as offenses had a much easier time now than
in the first period. Mickeal was everywhere, stealing and slamming while the hosts' defense was growing stronger one more time. Navarro fed Boni N'Dong from
the half court for an alley-oop and the highlight of the night as the hosts climbed to a 35-19 cushion. Good ball circulation for Maroussi allowed Billy Keys
to find an open three but Barca found its way again from the paint to stay out of reach. Pat Calathes buried a new three for the guests to close the score at
41-27 for the halftime break.
N'Dong started the second half with his eighth rebound of the night as defenses started strong again. It took almost two minutes for the first points to fall, when Navarro stepped on the accelerator for a layup. Jared Homan replied with a jumper from the side for Maroussi, and Marios Batis finally scored with a fastbreak for the guests to make it 44-31. Ricky Rubio finally found the end of the net from the arc for his team but Lucas started adding points to his column again. Morris was still active in offense with a new three as both teams now started to trade baskets, 54-36. Lucas was still the go-to guy for the guests in offense, sparking a 0-8 run capped by Lucas himself with a turnaround jumper for 54-42. The hosts were now out of the game and Maroussi kept punishing Barca's basket with more points making it a 0-10, until Gianluca Basile blasted a three, after two misses, to inject some life into the hosts. However, Pelekanos closed the third period with a free throw for a 57-47 score after 30 minutes.
Mavroeidis scored to open the last period to cut the deficit to only 8 points, 57-49. When the crowd started pushing however, N'Dong appeared when his team needed it the most with a three-point play for 60-49. Calathes replied soon with a new three for Maroussi, but Lakovic did the same to keep the hosts afloat and N'Dong also scored his second Euroleague triple ever to follow. Navarro joined the three-point party for the hosts to soon make it 66-52. Keys was aggressive in offense when it looked that Barca found its pulse again from the arc with a new Navarro bomb. Calathes appeared again now, but Lakovic found a new layup to allow Barcelona to start playing its style again. The hosts were running and scoring, while Maroussi struggled again with the fast pace when it looked like it was going back into the game for good. Despite Calathes and Lucas straight baskets, the hosts still dominated by 12 points with two minutes to go. Rubio fed N'Dong for a slam and Navarro scored free throws to make it 79-65 with less than one minute to go, and broke the game open for a new Barcelona win this season.
Thursday, January 28, 2010