Regal FC Barcelona routed Cibona Zagreb 75-94
Regal FC Barcelona cruised to a 75-94 win over Cibona Zagreb at the Drazen Petrovic Basketball Center in the Croatian capital on Thursday, recording the reigning Euroleague champion’s biggest margin of victory this season. A season-high 18 points plus 4 steals and 4 assists by Ricky Rubio did the trick for the winners, while newcomer Joe Ingles added 16 points, Terence Morris scored 15 off the bench, Fran Vazquez tallied 14 and Boniface NDong provided 10. Barcelona, which was superstar Juan Carlos Navarro and Pete Mickeal due to injuries, improved to 4-2 in Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group C and remains one win behind co-leaders Fenerbahce Ulker and Montepaschi Siena. Barca faces Cholet Basket in Week 7. Barcelona dominated throughout the game despite valiant efforts by Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 26 points with 5 triples for Cibona, and Leon Radosevic, who added 14. Outplayed at home by the champion’s good ball movement and stifling defense, Cibona was only able to muster 8 assists to Barcelona’s 21 and will look for its first win against FB Ulker next week.
In his preferred free safety role on defense, Rubio thrived early, setting up Ingles and Lorbek in the halfcourt and producing a highlight off a steal and assist for a thundering Vazquez dunk. Quickly, Barcelona took hold of the game with a 6-15 start. With the visitors sealing the passing lanes inside and closing in fast on Cibona’s shooters, it was hard for the hosts to find their shooting touch, especially seeing that Barcelona was intent on pushing the ball up the court after every miss. Ingles was showing off his all-around play with three-pointer and foul that pushed the visitors to a 9-21 lead. Cibona showed signs of frustration even with Victor Sada spelling Rubio at the end of the quarter, as it had to rely on one-on-one plays by Radosevic and challenging penetrations by Marcus Johnson to keep within 13-24 after 10 minutes.
Cibona looked to improve its ball movement in the second quarter, but driving to the basket was mandatory in order to break down Barcelona’s defense, and Bogdanovic and Karlo Vragovic got deep in the dragon’s lair to tighten the deficit to 18-28. The hosts also started sealing their own glass, keeping Boni NDong in check, but with Rubio again back on the floor for Barcelona, the visitors were able to keep the defensive pressure on high and were off to the races after every Cibona turnover. It wasn’t until the hosts started to spread the floor from beyond the arc that Barcelona felt the heat. A more balanced and disciplined halfcourt attack by head coach Zdravko Radulovic’s men produced some good perimeter looks, and Mario Delas and Bogdanovic took advantage with three consecutive triples to make it 27-36. Fueled by good shooting, the hosts made it a complete effort with some gritty defense of their own and Radosevic put some roar back in the building with an emphatic baseline dunk that left things 36-44 at the break.
The orders were clear at halftime, as Barcelona made it a point of getting its big men involved: Lorbek capitalized with good post moves in his first touch and Vazquez delivered on an alley-oop pass from Grimau, as Sada started the second half in place of Rubio and settled his team’s half court offense. On Cibona’s chalkboard, it was still mostly penetration and kick outs to get back in the game, and Radulovic’s men accomplished the mark with another Bogdanovic triple that made it 39-46. The hosts were in it mainly thanks to a red-hot Bogdanovic from beyond the arc, as the guard netted three triples in the period. The Vazquez alley-oop became a legitimate go-to move for the visitors, who kept the distance at 45-53 thanks to their center’s jumping ability and soft hands. With Barcelona dominating the paint and the tempo thanks to Sada’s steady hand and Rubio entering the game again with fresh legs and added scoring, the Euroleague champions had no trouble cruising to a 57-71 advantage entering the final period.
Cibona tried to make a run out of it in the last 10 minutes, with Radosevic, Tomislav Zubcic and Goran Vrbanc hitting their first shots, but Barcelona enjoyed a nice spark form Terrence Morris and was just too big up front, never letting the hosts get closer than 67-79 after a Radosevic bucket. Rubio thrived in the visitor’s backcourt and Sada, who was his team’s leading rebounder, assisted Morris on a triple and applied constant defensive pressure on Cibona’s backcourt. Even Ingles got into it with a dunk that put the game out of reach midway through the quarter at 67-81 and Barcelona put the finishing touches on the win with a pair of Rubio and NDong slams.
Thursday, November 25, 2010