2007-08PlayoffsGame 2
April 03, 2008 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALAU BLAUGRANA
Gianluca Basile - AXA FC Barcelona - EB07

AXA F.C. Barcelona turned back visiting Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv 83-74

A career night from Gianluca Basile led AXA FC Barcelona to an 83-74 win over Maccabi Elite on Thursday night at the Palau Blaugrana in Game 2 of the team’s Euroleague Basketball Quarterfinal Playoffs series. The third and deciding game of the best-of-three series will take place next Thursday at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv with the winner assured of a ticket to Madrid for the 2008 Final Four, while the winner will finish his season. Basile was simply red hot for Barca, finishing with a career-high 34 points, which also matches Luis Scola’s record for the most points scored in a quarterfinal game. The 33-year-old Basile was simply unguardable and more than made up for another off night from the team’s leading scorer, Jaka Lakovic, who finished scoreless. Pepe Sanchez and Roger Grimau added 11 points apiece and Fran Vazquez posted 8 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. Omri Casspi recorded career-highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Maccabi. Terence Morris added 16 points and 11 boards and Will Bynum scored 13 in defeat. The game was even for 10 minutes, but a 10-0 Barca run capped by a Sanchez to Mario Kasun alley-oop slam gave the hosts the lead for good in the second period. Maccabi continued to challenge, sticking at 43-37 at halftime and getting within 1 in the third quarter, but Basile was always there to answer whether with a clutch three-pointer or a running layup, leaving the Israeli champs no real chance and setting up a dramatic Game 3 for next week.

Ersan Ilyasova got Barcelona going with a put-back basket, but Morris immediately answered with a long jumper for a 2-3 Maccabi edge. Barcelona attacked the baskets in the early going, as free throws by Denis Marconato and Alex Acker put the hosts ahead, 5-2. Halperin struck from downtown, but a long two-pointer by Basile and a wild reverse layup by Acker gave Barcelona a 9-5 edge. Morris kept pacing Maccabi with a triple and Casspi shined with a big block on Ilyasova. Nikols Vujcic provided a highlight with a behind-the-back assist to Casspi but a jumper by Basile helped Barcelona regain the lead, 11-10. Maccabi had already adjusted its defense and free throws by Casspi put the guests back ahead, 11-13. Acker sank a jumper and after a red-hot Casspi threw down a slam, a driving layup by Basile tied it at 15-15. Maccabi struggled to score now while Basile buried a seven-meter bomb for an 18-16 Barcelona edge. Morris banked in a short jumper, but Pepe Sanchez bettered him with a three-pointer. Bynum scored in transition before Casspi added a put-back layup for a 21-22 Maccabi edge. A five-meter shot by Vazquez restored a 23-22 Barcelona lead after 10 minutes.

Both teams exchanged missed shots and turnovers early in the second quarter until Grimau fed Mario Kasun for an alley-oop dunk. Maccabi had been scoreless for more than two minutes when a fast break layup by Basile caused the guests to call timeout at 27-22. Sanchez provided a highlight with an outstanding driving layup before another alley-oop dunk by Kasun capped a 10-0 run for a 31-22 Barcelona lead. Esteban Batista stepped up with a free throw that Morris followed with a put-back dunk to bring Maccabi back to life, 31-25. Morris scored again under the basket and then Tal Burstein stepped on court for the first time this season. Kasun hit free throws and Grimau added a driving layup to keep the hosts out of trouble, 35-27. Vujcic found his first points on a jump hook, but Sanchez struck again from downtown. Morris remained unstoppable in the paint and Bynum followed a fast break layup with a three-point play to bring Maccabi back to life at 38-36. Gary Neal sank a running jumper, but Barcelona started missing shots despite dominating the offensive glass. Yotam Halperin shot from midcourt with 10 seconds to go, allowing Basile to beat the buzzer with a triple and make it 43-37 at halftime.

Barcelona tried to get Kasun and Vazquez involved without much success right after the break, while Maccabi opted to slow down the game tempo. Vujcic fired in a triple from the top of the key, but a tip-in by Vazquez gave Barcelona a 45-40 edge. Casspi took over with a huge put-back dunk and Morris scored again in the paint to make it a 1-point game. Basile stepped up with a fast break layup that Vujcic erased with a reverse basket. Basile kept pacing Barcelona with his trademark step-back triple, as Barcelona was more focused at both ends now, with incredible intensity on defense. Vazquez shined with another tip-in and Basile added a running three-pointer that made Maccabi ask for a timeout at 55-46. Casspi sank a triple from the left corner and even though Kasun answered with free throws, he scored again to get Maccabi within 57-51. Basile and Grimau sank foul shots to give Barcelona its first double-digit margin, 61-51. Lior Eliyahu hit a floating layup and Esteban Batista added an acrobatic basket, but Basile buried his fifth bomb from downtown for a 64-55 Barcelona lead. Bynum beat the buzzer with an oustanding triple to bring Maccabi within 64-58 after three quarters.

Basile fed Vazquez for a baseline jumper right at the start of the fourth quarter and then buried yet another three-pointer to make it 69-58. It was do-or-die time for Maccabi, but Barcelona was all over the place on defense. Grimau made free throws, but Batista banked in a close jumper after a Maccabi timeout. Basile remained unstoppable with free throws, only Eliyahu answered in the same way. Derrick Sharp nailed a triple, but the ever-present Basile took over with a fast break layup. Sanchez buried his third three-pointer and even when Bynum scored again, Barcelona was at a different level now on defense. Vujcic sank a six-meter jumper to give Maccabi some hope, 78-69, with four minutes remaining. Grimau set the crowd on fire with a wide-open triple and a block by Basile on Sharp that finished with all the guests' hopes. Maccabi kept trying, however, and Sharp took revenge with a seven-meter bomb, but Grimau shined with a driving layup and added free throws to make all Barcelona fans start celebrating. Barcelona stayed alive and both teams will be back to Tel Aviv in a make-or-break showdown for a Final Four berth!

Thursday, April 3, 2008
Javier Gancedo, Barcelona
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Attendance: 6739
By Quarter1234
AXA FC Barcelona23202119
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv22152116
End of Quarter1234
AXA FC Barcelona23436483
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv22375874
AXA 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 35:52 34 6/11 6/12 4/5   5 5 1 2 2 1 1 1 4 31
6 SANCHEZ, PEPE 24:04 11 1/2 3/6   1 5 6 3 1 1     1 2 17
8 TRIAS, JORDI 6:27   0/1     1 1 2 1       1     1
9 MARCONATO, DENIS 14:35 2 0/2   2/2 1 2 3 1     1 1 2 1 3
10 LAKOVIC, JAKA 15:56   0/2 0/2     1 1 1       1 1 1 -3
13 NEAL, GARY 6:54 2 1/1 0/2   1   1           2   -1
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 26:16 8 4/8 0/1   2 8 10 1   1 1   2   12
21 ILYASOVA, ERSAN 8:06 2 1/2     1   1 1       1 1   1
24 MONCASI, ALBERT DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
34 ACKER, ALEX 16:21 5 2/4 0/1 1/2   1 1 1 1   1   3 1 3
41 KASUN, MARIO 22:28 8 2/5   4/4 2 4 6   1 1 1   1 3 14
44 GRIMAU, ROGER 23:01 11 2/4 1/2 4/4   2 2 5 2   1   4 5 19
Team           1   1   1 1         1
Totals 200:00 83 19/42 10/26 15/17 10 29 39 15 8 6 6 5 18 17 98
        45.2% 38.5% 88.2%
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
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 BYNUM, WILL 29:17 13 4/6 1/3 2/3 1 5 6   1 1     3 3 14
6 SHARP, DERRICK 9:00 6 0/1 2/4                 1     2
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 22:10 9 3/6 1/3   1 2 3 4 1 4 1   2 1 8
8 ELIYAHU, LIOR 5:29 4 1/2   2/2       1           1 5
9 MORRIS, TERENCE 34:31 16 6/11 1/5 1/2 2 9 11 2   4 3 1 3 2 16
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 7:09           1 1             2 3
11 CASSPI, OMRI 30:23 18 5/6 1/3 5/10 2 8 10 1 1   1 1 3 8 27
12 GARCIA, ALEX 9:19   0/2                   1 2   -5
13 BLU, DAVID 8:45   0/1 0/1   1 1 2                
14 CUMMINGS, VONTEEGO 11:16   0/2 0/1         1       1 1   -4
15 BATISTA, ESTEBAN 14:45 5 2/4   1/2 2 1 3 2   1   1 2 1 4
21 HALPERIN, YOTAM 17:56 3 0/1 1/3     1 1 2   1     1   1
Team           2 2 4   1           5
Totals 200:00 74 21/42 7/23 11/19 11 30 41 13 4 11 5 6 17 18 76
        50% 30.4% 57.9%
Head coach: SHERF, ZVI

Head Coaches

AXA FC Barcelona
"First of all, and as always in such games, I want to congratulate our fans for helping us in a game like this. They took us through the right way. I did it in the locker room, but I also want to congratulate my players in general. They deserve the chance to play Game 3. This game went the way we expected. We had problems to stop Casspi in the early going and also struggled on plays by Vujcic and Morris. We managed to get an 11-point lead in the second quarter, they got back but a triple by Basile gave us a six-point lead. We came out in the third quarter to win the partial score but that triple by Bynum tied it. We had an excellent fourth quarter, very solid in defense, that allowed us to seal the outcome easily. Basile had an excellent game, also on defense, without mistakes, running the break and shooting well, an all-around game. Before the series, I said that the team that would stay mentally stronger would make it to the Final Four and I say it again. We handled well the pressure and let's see what happens in Game 3. For me, my team is always the favorite and it has been like that since day one when I cam here. I only think about winning every game and everybody must feel that, so I don't think Maccabi is the favorite in Game 3: anyone can win. Lakovic had an intelligent game, running the plays and on defense. We have been playing well and will go to Tel Aviv with only the ambition to win. Maccabi will have to play very well if it wants to beat us. The game will be decided by small details."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"Congratulations to Barcelona for the win. They deserved to win the game tonight. We didn't succeed in something we wanted to do. Above all, we didn't manage to stop Basile, who had a great game. We now have Game 3 and both teams will prepare it well. We will do everything we can to cover the mistakes we made today. I respected Barcelona before and after the series: full respect. Up to this point, nobody can surprise anybody. Every team will go on court in Game 3 with all they have - players, shape and motivation to win. Of course, every team likes to play at home and that gives you some advantage. We will try to use this advantage to play better. Casspi is the youngest talented player in Israel. Since I got here, I am trying to give him more playing time. He is working hard to deserve it, playing with his heart and improving in every game. He is one of the future stars in Israeli basketball."


AXA FC Barcelona
"We came out and executed very well tonight, and that was the biggest key of the game. We attacked them first and Basile was unstoppable, he really was. It is a big help for us: he also was in Game 1 and tonight he did even better. I think we can play at this level in Game 3 in Tel Aviv. We knew we could beat them, especially here on our home court. It is a matter of time. They execute very well, but at they have slips at times and we have to make the most out of it. Making it to my first Final Four would be a nice dream. I have been thinking about that ever since last year."
AXA FC Barcelona
"I played a good game tonight, but it means nothing if the team loses. This win is very important for us and that's the key thing. We played tough defense tonight, found good options on offense, scoring more than 85 points. We now have to believe that we can win in Tel Aviv. It won't be easy, it is a difficult court, with diehard fans always pushing for Maccabi. We know what we have to do in Tel Aviv. If we play tough defense, rebound well and run the break, we can win there."
AXA FC Barcelona
"The only key to this game was defense. Defense and nothing else. You say that Basile got hot or that Pepe Sanchez got hot, but if they didn't make the shots, somebody else would. It was a hard game, I am happy that we won and now we are going to Tel Aviv to win another one. We definitely know we can win the series if we play in Tel Aviv the way we did tonight. Game 1 was the first time that we played Maccabi this year and we were surprised. We know have to focus on our defense and that way, we can make it to the Final Four."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We knew it would be very tough to beat Barcelona here, but not impossible. We did not manage to get a win here, so now have to go back home and win Game 3. We know we can do it, and we will do it. We must be more focused than tonight, try to stop Basile, who had a great game with 34 points, and improve in all that we failed to do well. We know we can beat Barcelona because we did it just two days ago."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"It is not easy to win in Barcelona. They really played a good game, especially Basile, who was unbelievable tonight. We finished first in the Top 16 and have the homecourt advantage, so we hope to use it now. It doesn't mean anything if you don't win, so we now have to focus on Game 3. We managed to stop Lakovic tonight, but Basile took responsibility from unbelievable distances. Of course, that's the thing to improve: you cannot allow a guy to score 34 points on you. He had 34 points and gave confidence to the rest of the team."
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