Barcelona romps past Galatasaray to take commanding series lead
FC Barcelona moved within one victory of returning to the Final Four after downing Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 84-63 at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday night. Barcelona now holds a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five playoffs series, which moves to Istanbul for Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4. A potential decisive Game 5 would be played again in Barcelona. Brad Oleson and Alex Abrines combined for 27 points on perfect shooting off the bench to pace the winners. Olseon scored 14 with a pair of triple, Abrines netted 13 with 3 threes. Marcelinho Huertas added 12 points and 6 assists, Ante Tomic totaled 11 points and 8 rebounds and Kostas Papanikolaou scored 10 for Barcelona, whose signature star Juan Carlos Navarro left the game in the first quarter due to a leg problem. Henry Domercant led Galatasaray with 11 points and Ender Arslan, starting in place of Carlos Arroyo, who sat out with a sprained ankle, contributed 10 points and 7 assists. Tomic, Huertas and Papanikolaou shined early to give Barcelona a 11-6 lead. Papanikolaou and Oleson fueled a 14-0 run that broke the game open, 25-8, early in the second quarter. Galatasaray improved with its second unit on court, but Barcelona kept a solid margin, 43-25, at halftime. Galatasaray managed to keep the deficit in a respectable range for the best part of the second half, but was never able to put together a threatening run.
First quarter: Papanikolaou, Huertas take charge
Arslan, in his first start this season, got Galatasaray going with a four-meter jumper. Tomic split free throws and a floater by Huertas gave Barcelona its first lead, 3-2. Papanikolaou shined with a fast break layup and Huuertas capped a 7-0 run with an easy basket. Zoran Erceg scored down low and a layup by Furkan Aldemir kept Galatasaray close. Barcelona could not get Navarro involved due to Malik Hairston's strong defense and brought Oleson off the bench. Tomic banked in a jump hook and Papanikolaou soon gave the hosts an 11-6 edge. Erceg kept pushing Galatasaray with a layup. Tomic made free throws and a backdoor layup by Huertas boosted his team's lead to 15-8. Papanikolaou finished a great team play with a layup and a three-pointer by Oleson made it a double-digit game. Another fast break layup by Papanikolaou fixed the score at 21-8 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Hosts look to ice game early
Oleson followed a close jumper with a fast break layup to cap a 14-0 run that broke the game open, 25-8. Sinan Guler and Bostjan Nachbar traded layups and a jump hook by Milan Macvan brought Galatasaray a bit closer, 27-12. Joey Dorsey ignited the crowd with a monster slam, which Cenk Akyol bettered with a three-pointer. Victor Sada shined with a driving layup, as Barcelona tried to twin point guard with him and Jacob Pullen on court. After Alex Abrines struck from downtown, Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored down low. A jumper by Erazem Lorbek kept Barcelona way ahead, 36-17. Arslan hit a triple that Mensah-Bonsu followed with a jumper to make it 36-22. Pullen hit a mid-range shot and an alley-oop dunk by Papanikolaou created an 18-point Barcelona margin. Oleson hit a three-pointer, but Hairston dunked and Arslan kept Galatasaray within 43-25 at halftime.
Third quarter: Galatasaray tries, but Barca keeps comfortable lead
Both teams struggled to score after the break for almost two minutes until Aldemir stepped up with a layup-plus-foul. Barcelona missed 5 shots and picked up a turnover in its first six possessions of the second half. Huertas got the crowd involved with a three-pointer, however, giving the hosts a 46-28 margin. Erceg tried to change things with a catch-and-shoot triple and free throws by Arslan gave the guests hope at 46-33. Erceg sank foul shots which Sada improved with a corner triple, good for a 49-35 Barcelona lead. Oleson also struck from downtown and banked in a driving shot to make Galatasaray call timeout at 54-35. Macvan nailed a turnaround jumper that Abrines bettered with a triple to make it a 20-point game. Erwin Dudley and Lorbek traded baskets, before Dorsey took over with an alley-oop dunk and a buzzer-beating basket by Arslan kept the guests within 61-41 through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Barcelona holds on to big win
Lorbek sank a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter and a huge alley-oop dunk by Abrines sealed the outcome. Dudley scored again, but Tomic quickly answered with a put-back basket and soon banked in a close shot to boost Barcelona's lead to 70-45 with over seven minutes to go. Guler buried a running jumper that a red-hot Tomic matched with a turnaround jumper. Henry Domercant struck from downtown and even after Abrines also hit one from beyond the arc, Domercant erased it with a six-meter jumper – and the free throw that came with it. Galatasaray kept fighting, but everything was said and done.
Thursday, April 17, 2014