2009-10PlayoffsGame 1
March 23, 2010 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Barcelona outlasted Madrid 68-61

Regal Barcelona came alive late to hold off archrival Real Madrid 68-61 in the opener of their Quarterfinal Playoffs series on Tuesday at Palau Blaugrana. Pete Mickeal drilled back-to-back triples to tie the game and then put Barca ahead for good as his team remained undefeated at home this season. Barcelona has now won 34 consecutive home games in all competitions dating back to a playoffs loss against Caja Laboral last season. Game 2 is set for the same site on Thursday before the series heads to the Spanish capital for Games 3 and 4 next week. If needed, Game 5 will take place at Palau Blaugrana on April 7. The winner of the series will advance to the 2010 Euroleague Final Four in Paris. It was an exciting contest that featured four ties and two lead changes in the fourth quarter alone. But Madrid went cold midway through the fourth quarter and Mickeal scored 8 in an 11-0 run that wrapped up the win. Mickeal finished with 18 points, Boni NDong added 14 and Juan Carlos Navarro 11 for the winners. Darjus Lavrinovic paced Madrid with 14 points and 8 rebounds, Sergio Llull scored 9 and Pabo Prigioni dished 8 assists.

Mickeal got Barcelona going with a two-handed fast break dunk as the hosts tried to run their offense through Erazem Lorbek and Ndong in the opening minutes. Marko Jaric shined with a fast break layup as Madrid opted to slow down the game tempo by using long possessions. Mickeal scored down low, but Jaric answered with an acrobatic basket. Navarro hit his trademark 'bomba,' but a jump hook by Ante Tomic tied it at 6-6. Navarro split free throws and fed Lorbek for a mid-range jumper. Madrid dominated the game tempo through an outstanding Prigioni. Jorge Garbajosa took over with a three-point play, but Ricky Rubio banked in a fade-away jumper and soon added a big three-pointer to restore a 14-9 Barcelona edge. Tomic took over with a backdoor layup that Lorbek matched with a baseline jumper. Prigioni sank a jump hook against Rubio. Barcelona tried to speed up its offense with Jaka Lakovic and Roger Grimau on court. Madrid improved its offense with its second lineup on the floor, as a layup by Lavrinovic and a step-back jumper by Sergio Llull gave the guests their first lead, 16-17. Gianluca Basile struck from downtown to put Barcelona back ahead, 19-17, after 10 minutes.

Madrid ran its offense through Lavrinovic and Felipe Reyes early in the second quarter, trying to generate double-team opportunities to find open shots for Louis Bullock and Travis Hansen. Basile set the crowd on fire with his trademark 'tiro ignorante' from way downtown, but a reverse layup by Reyes kept Madrid within 22-19. Fran Vazquez lifted the crowd with a huge tomahawk dunk - and the free throw that came with it. Rimas Kaukenas buried a stop-and-pop jumper. Rubio and Navarro returned to the floor, but Madrid stayed aggressive on defense and an open triple by Jaric made it a one-point game. Rubio ran the length of the court for a layup in transition, but another jump hook by Tomic kept Madrid within 27-26. Lorbek and Navarro hit free throws, however a left-handed driving layup by Garbajosa and a seven-meter bomb by Llull tied it at 31-31. NDong scored down low and free throws by Navarro gave Barcelona some fresh air at 35-31. Lavrinovic silenced the crowd with a driving layup that Navarro matched with more foul shots. Garbajosa finished a long Madrid offense with an open triple to make it 37-36 at halftime.

Reyes and Mickeal traded baskets immediately after the break. Madrid improved its intensity with Prigioni's on-the-ball defense against Rubio. A jumper by Reyes put Madrid back ahead, 39-40. Barcelona could not find the way to the basket, but a dunk by Vazquez got the crowd involved again. Lavrinovic followed an open three-pointer with a huge alley-oop dunk as Barcelona called a much-needed timeout at 41-45. Barcelona tried its best offensive lineup with Navarro, Mickeal, Vazquez and Lorbek together on court, but an uncontested layup by Kaukenas made it a 6-point game after a 0-7 run. Mickeal dunked off a steal, but Reyes scored in the low post. Madrid followed its game plan with a lot of patience on offense, but a big block by Lorbek on Tomic led to a fast break dunk by NDong that changed the game momentum. Ndong and Mickeal soon added free throws to bring Barcelona within 48-49. Madrid tried twin point guards with Prigioni and Llull together on the floor, but did not improve its ball circulation. NDong set the crowd on fire with a put-back dunk. Free throws by Lavrinovic and Jordi Trias fixed the score at 51-51 after 30 minutes.

Ndong downed a five-meter jumper early in the fourth quarter. Llull erased it with an incredible alley-oop layup. Barcelona tried Victor Sada to stop Llull, but he took over with a rainbow jumper, good for a 53-55 Madrid lead. Ndong stayed on fire with another mid-range jumper and a jump hook to restore a 57-55 Barcelona edge with seven minutes left. Hansen struck from downtown and Lavrinovic finished a long, three-chance Madrid offense with a layup that forced coach Xavi Pascual to call timeout at 57-60. Madrid was all over the place on defense, cutting all passing lines. Barcelona, however, found a go-to guy in Mickeal, who downed back-to-back three-pointers to make the guests stop the game at 63-60. Mickeal kept shining in crunch time with a long offensive rebound and a wild driving layup that made it 65-60 with under three minutes left. Madrid struggled to score right when it mattered most and had already entered the foul bonus. Navarro hit free throws and even though Madrid kept trying, Barcelona was already celebrating a Game 1 win in what promises to be an incredible best-of-five series.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Javier Gancedo, Barcelona
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Attendance: 7428 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Regal FC Barcelona19181417
Real Madrid17191510
End of Quarter1234
Regal FC Barcelona19375168
Real Madrid17365161
Regal FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 BASILE, GIANLUCA 16:44 6 0/2 2/6     4 4 1 1 1     2 2 5
8 TRIAS, JORDI 5:16 1   0/2 1/2 1   1 1           1 1
9 RUBIO, RICKY 25:44 7 2/3 1/4     2 2 3 2 4   1 2 5 8
10 LAKOVIC, JAKA 6:25   0/1 0/2                   1 1 -3
11 NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS 25:28 11 1/2 0/6 9/10   2 2 3 1       2 8 15
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 16:05 5 2/2   1/3   3 3 1     2   1 3 11
21 NDONG, BONIFACE 23:55 14 6/6   2/4 3 4 7   1 2 3   2 2 21
23 MORRIS, TERENCE 2:27                              
24 SADA, VICTOR 8:34     0/1     2 2 1         1   1
25 LORBEK, ERAZEM 32:17 6 2/4 0/1 2/2 1 4 5     1 2   2 2 9
33 MICKEAL, PETE 31:07 18 5/7 2/3 2/2 1 5 6   1   1   2 2 23
44 GRIMAU, ROGER 5:58   0/2           1         3   -4
Team             1 1               1
Totals 200:00 68 18/29 5/25 17/23 6 27 33 11 6 8 8 1 18 26 88
        62.1% 20% 73.9%
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Real Madrid
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 TOMIC, ANTE 17:02 6 3/6     2 1 3     2 1 1 4 1 1
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 29:38 2 1/4 0/2   2   2 8 2 3   1 3   2
6 HANSEN, TRAVIS 18:36 3 0/2 1/2     2 2     1     3 2  
7 LAVRINOVIC, DARJUS 25:27 14 4/8 1/2 3/5 2 6 8 1       1 3 5 17
8 JARIC, MARKO 27:02 7 2/9 1/2     3 3 1 1 1   4 1 3 1
9 REYES, FELIPE 23:02 8 4/9     2 5 7 1 2 2     3 2 10
13 KAUKENAS, RIMANTAS 19:00 4 2/4       1 1     1   1 3 2  
14 VELICKOVIC, NOVICA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 GARBAJOSA, JORGE 14:29 8 2/4 1/1 1/1   2 2           1 1 8
20 VIDAL, SERGI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
22 BULLOCK, LOUIS 3:27                   1     1   -2
23 LLULL, SERGIO 22:17 9 3/3 1/5     2 2 1 1 1     4 2 6
Team           2 5 7     1         6
Totals 200:00 61 21/49 5/14 4/6 10 27 37 12 6 13 1 8 26 18 49
        42.9% 35.7% 66.7%

Head Coaches

Regal FC Barcelona
"We are very happy with this win. It was a complicated game in which we struggled to score from outside for 38 minutes - which was one of the keys to the game. We found good, open shots, but they did not fell in. We played good defense in a game that turned out to be complicated emotionally speaking, especially when we trailed by 6 in the third quarter. We were able to recover from such a complicated situation, defense by defense, offense by offense, and managed to rally. You expect the first game of the series to be complicated - Maccabi lost against Partizan - and it was shown tonight. We are happy in general terms with our defensive level and expect the team to play better after this win. We committed turnovers that we are not used to making and did not control our emotions during four minutes in the third quarter. We managed to play better in the fourth quarter and get this important win. I have the feeling that we played better than it looks. We managed to get a lot of open shots, but missed them, finishing the game with 69 points. They controlled the game tempo, taking decisions after long possessions. We faced problems in one-on-one situations against their guards and Darjus Lavrinovic. Madrid has improved in rebounding and this is something we have to improve. Lavrinovic offers a lot of possibilities at the '4' and '5' positions. We have to limit his game if we want to win the series."
Real Madrid
"It was a tough playoff game and I think we did a lot of good things. We managed to control the boards in the opening three quarters and were able to circulate the ball well in offense, getting good shooting options. Barcelona broke the game with their offensive boards in the fourth quarter and two consecutive three-pointers. You have to credit Pete Mickeal and Barcelona, but I think things could have been different if we did things better - like we did in the opening 30 minutes. We are now 0-1 in the series and have to get ready for Thursday's game. Barcelona made mistakes early in the third quarter and we took advantage of them. When you lose a game like this, a coach and a fan expects the team to be angry rather than frustrated. This is what we all expect. Mickeal was the most consistent player on the floor, the one that broke the game. Thursday will be a different game and anybody in Barcelona can step up. We managed to get a 3-point lead with a few minutes left and could have forced a more difficult situation for them. They managed to bounce back in this difficult moment and the game changed. You need to play well all 40 minutes, not just 32 or 33, to win in here, but we knew that before the game."


Regal FC Barcelona
"It was a very difficult game. Real Madrid is a very, very good team. We knew it would be a tough opponent from the very beginning. We managed to win the game and that is the most important thing. I don't think we were nervous throughout the game. We didn't have a good shooting night, missing a lot of three-pointers. We played good defense in the fourth quarter and managed to rebound well. Like I said, winning is all that matters and we managed to do it tonight. Juan Carlos Navarro had a cold hand tonight, not very usual from him because he is a great three-point shooter, but I managed to hit them in the fourth quarter."
Regal FC Barcelona
"We managed to return to the game and play better defense in the second half. We have seen how important it was for us to have a deep bench, especially in the most important moments. Our backup players did a great job and showed us that you cannot back down in a game like this. It is also positive that we allowed just 61 points. If we allow few points at home, we will win most games. The most important thing, above all, is to win the game. We cannot be happy with this win. We got out of this game stronger, but at the same time, being able to learn from what we did wrong, especially in the third quarter. It wouldn't be a bad thing to play better in offense. It will be a tough series and just as we expected, not as easy as people said."
Real Madrid
"I think that we played very well in the opening three quarters and all the good work we did was thrown away in the final five minutes. We want this series to be long and this is not the end of it. We have to keep working to play a great game on Thursday and try to steal a win here in Barcelona. Of course, we are able to win here if we do things the right way. We have to play as a team, the way we did most of the game. We don't have to be afraid of them. They are good team, but are not invincible. We have good players and can beat any opponent, anywhere."
Real Madrid
"We showed that we know how to play against Barcelona, how to compete against them, but we made a lot of mistakes in the last five or six minutes. Defensively, we played pretty well as a team. Offensively, we didn't attack the way we did earlier in the game. We needed to got to the free throw line more often. We'll get together and see what happens on Thursday. We know that we we can play at this level. We have great players on this team. We just have to fix a few things and it will be great series."
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