Regal FC Barcelona downed Cibona 80-66
There were no big surprises in the opening night of the 2010-11 Turkish Airlines Euroleague for reigning champ Regal FC Barcelona, as it defeated Cibona 80-66 in a Group C home game played Thursday. A slow scoring first quarter kept things close but when Barca improved defense, Cibona seemed to be helpless and
the hosts just kept increasing the gap. Next week Barcelona travels to France to meet Cholet Basket while Cibona welcomes Fenerbahce Ulker in Zagreb. Ricky Rubio, on the day of his 20th birthday, and Juan Carlos Navarro led the winners with 14 points apiece, Jaka Lakovic added 13, Roger Grimau 12 and Fran Vazquez had 10. For Cibona, Bojan Bogdanovic excelled with 28 points, Leon Radosevic followed with 15 points and 9 rebounds and Rok Stipcevic bagged 12.
Bogdan Bogdanovic needed a few seconds to open the score for Cibona, and he soon added a new one for a 0-4 opening run. Captain Roger Grimau opened the score
for the reigning champs and Fran Vazquez soon slammed the offensive board to make up for Drago Pasalic's basket and a 4-6. Juan Carlos Navarro soon tied the
game at 6-6 with a rainbow shot. Barca closed its defense now but two consecutive Cibona steals with no prize in the end kept the score still. Three minutes
went by with no points until the first timeout stopped the game looking for solutions. It had to be Ricky Rubio with the first three of the night the one to
break the balance for 9-6 and less than 4 minutes to go in the quarter. That seem to get Barca unstuck as Terence Morris soon found a layup that forced
Cibona's timeout this time around. Leon Radosevic added points for Cibona but Vazquez copied him to keep the hosts ahead. Cibona was never afraid and tried
to run when possible, but four straight points by Erazem Lorbek made it 17-12 to put an end of the first quarter.
Poor decisions in offense for both sides were stopped by Navarro's new layup to make it 19-12 for Barcelona. Soon enough Navarro found Jaka Lakovic for an
open three that forced a new timeout for a Cibona that was still scoreless in the quarter, 22-12. Bogdanovic took matters on his own hands driving for a
layup and in the next play, a couple of good moves inside proved productive for Radosevic to draw Boni N'Dong's first foul, but Lakovic sneaked into the lane
on the other side for the 24-15. Cibona's inexperience showed in a couple unforced turnovers and Navarro took advantage of that to make it a double-digit
lead for the first time at 26-15. A nice birthday present arrived for Rubio when he stole and ran for the break making it a basket plus foul for the 29-15.
Rubio then fed Grimau for an easy layup to enlarge the run to 9-0, while Cibona tried to stay calm and play with clear ideas. Bogdanovic finally managed to
keep adding points for the guests and then Rok Stpicevic used his bag of tricks for a nifty three-point play making it 33-20. It looked like Barca always
scored when it pushed hard in offense and as such pulled a last basket in the half to make it 35-20 at the break.
Vazquez opened the second half for Barcelona with free throws, and Morris soon added a clean jumper to make it 39-20. Bogdanovic also scored twice from the
line for Cibona but with a patient ball circulation, Navarro found a three to enlarge the lead a little more, which finally reached the 20 points when
Navarro fed a huge alley-oop to Vazquez for 44-24. A new timeout fell on Cibona's side as the third quarter run escalated to 14-4 after Navarros's new three
-pointer. After a few attempts in the same play, Radosevic finally managed to add more points in the Cibona column, and Marcus Johnson soon joined in for his
first points of the night. When Bogdanovic hit a free throw for his three-point play and 15 points, it looked like Cibona was back to life, but Lakovic
erased the smile from the guests' faces with his new three and a 54-31. Bogdanovic was absolutely on fire hitting five more points in a row making it a total
of 20 for him out of the 36 Cibona points at that moment. Bogdanovic and Mario Delas trimmed the deficit below the 20-point mark, 54-39, until Bogdanovic
scored again for the 56-41 that put an end to the third period.
Lorbek opened the last period with a three to leave no room for hope to Cibona. The run escalated to 9-0 when Navarro, Grimau and Rubio joined in, forcing a
new Cibona timeout with a 65-41 Cibona edge on the scoreboard. Stipcevic had a 0-4 run on his own to allow Cibona to add points to its column after the start
of the last period. Bogdanovic and Ricky kept trading baskets, and then Radosevic stepped up for a 0-5 of his own as the deficit was trimmed down to 71-57 with 3:30 to go. Lakovic put things back in place with his third triple of the night and when Grimau joined him after a new Cibona turnover, the game outcome was sealed. It was then that coach Xavi Pascual allowed young Angel Aparicio make his Euroleague debut in the last 100 seconds of a game that was the first step on Regal FC Barcelona's attempt to revalidate the European crown.
Thursday, October 21, 2010