FC Barcelona Regal rolled past Maccabi Electra 57-71
FC Barcelona Regal pulled away late to crush Maccabi Electra 57-71 in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Game of the Week on Thursday at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. The win was Barcelona’s fifth in a row over Maccabi and put it in pole position in Top 16 Group H with a 2-0 record. Erazem Lorbek starred for the winners with 18 points – 9 of which came in the final 5:12 of the game. Maccabi started strong and led by 7 after 10 minutes, but Barcelona came back quickly and the game remained close through the end of the half, 29-29. Maccabi took a 51-49 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Barcelona dominated the rest of the way. Maccabi’s shooting dried up and Barcelona finished the game on a 6-22 charge to register the win. Fran Vazquez added 14 points and 7 rebounds and Joe Ingles had 13 and 9 for Barcelona. Keith Langford paced Maccabi with 17 points and Demond Mallet added 12. Maccabi, which shot 37% on two-pointers and did not make a three, dropped to 1-1.
Maccabi came out with a surprising lineup featuring Tal Burstein and David Blu in place of Langford and Lior Eliyahu, but the hosts’ gameplan took a hit when Sofoklis Schortanitis was called for his second offensive rebounding foul just 70 seconds into the game. Lorbek took advantage of his size advantage over Blu for Barcelona’s first two baskets, though Mallet matched him each time. When Sofo went out, Barca subbed Vazquez in and he came through with an early jam. Mallet gave Maccabi its first lead, 7-6, with 3 free throws midway through the opening quarter. Langford heated up with a pair of baskets and Yogev Ohayon stole the ball from Juan Carlos Navarro and coasted for a layup to make it 15-8 Maccabi after 8 unanswered points. Vazquez settled Barca down with a mid-range jumper. Victor Sada and Langford traded scores as the hosts took a 19-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Barcelona came back quickly on back-to-back threes from Navarro and C.J. Wallace. Then Navarro threw a halfcourt alley-oop pass to Sada as the visitors regained the lead at 19-20. Mallet banked in a shot for Maccabi’s first points of the second quarter after four-and-a-half minutes. Navarro free throws and Ingles up close lifted the visitors to 21-24. Chuck Eidson rose and blocked a Schortsanitis shot, but the ball rolled in anyway. Lorbek connected from downtown to make it 25-27, however Mallet tied the score from the line. Theo Papaloukas stripped Marcelinho Huertas for a steal and slam, but Vazquez answered quickly in the post and after a Maccabi miss at the buzzer, the score was 29-29 at halftime.
The scoring picked up after the break, but the score remained deadlocked as the teams traded baskets. Joe Ingles bucked the trend with a triple that put his team up 35-38, though a Langford jumper kept Maccabi close. The defenses soon turned up the intensity and the game was rendered without points for nearly two minutes until Blu put Maccabi back up from the line. This time Eidson quickly countered with a slam. Langfored even the score at 40-40 from the line. Eidson attacked again and fed Vazquez for a slam, which was the difference after three quarters, 42-44.
Free throws by Vazquez and Eidson lifted Barcelona to a two-possession lead, but Langford closed the gap with a tough layup in transition. Yogev Ohayon played a two-man gave with Hendrix that resulted in a big jam and the guard followed it up with a foul line jumper to put the hosts up 49-47 as Nokia Arena started to rock. After a timeout, Ingles buried a long jumper to tie the game. Eidson found Kosta Perovic rolling to the basket to make it 51-53. Lorbek from the line and Marcelinho from downtown helped Barca go up 5, however Devin Smith and Ohayon kept Maccabi in the game. Lorbek with a hook shot and then 2 free throws gave Barcelona its biggest lead of the night, 55-62, with three minutes remaining. Blu attacked the basket and hit 2 free throws, but a long Ingles jumper kept the visitors in control. Blu missed from downtown and Lorbek scored in the paint to make it 57-66 with 90 seconds left as the Maccabi faithful started to head for the exits. The big man then made it a 10-point game to seal a big win for Barcelona.
Thursday, January 26, 2012