Navarro leads FCB Regal on his celebration night
In a very special night at Palau Blaugrana, FC Barcelona Regal stayed undefeated in Group D by downing Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 90-66 on Thursday. Barcelona remains the only undefeated team in the competition at 7-0, while L. Rytas dropped to 1-6. Juan Carlos Navarro paced the winners with 24 points. Navarro was honored before and during the game, commemorating 15 years since his first team debut. Five Barcelona socios (shareholders) who were born that day – November 23, 1997 – were invited to the game and many gifts were given throughout the game, including 15 signed Navarro jerseys. A special video was also shown on the video screen and Barcelona fans celebrated 15 years of their homegrown talent going from young prospect to one of the best players in European basketball history. Ante Tomic added 17, Pete Mickeal had 15 and Erazem Lorbek 11 for Barcelona. Leon Radosevic led Rytas with 14 points. Nemanja Nedovic added 12, Dejan Ivanov 11 and Predrag Samardziski 10. Navarro shined early to give Barcelona a 27-16 edge late in the first quarter. A 1-11 run brought Rytas back to life, as Ivanov and Radosevic gave the guests a 42-45 edge at the break. Mickeal and Marcelinho Huertas took over after the break for a 68-60 Barcelona margin after 30 minutes. Barcelona boosted its margin to 77-62 and never looked back.
First quarter: Navarro, Tomic shine early
Ante Tomic got Barcelona going with a jump hook, as Rytas struggled to score in the opening two minutes. Predrag Samardziski swished a mid-range jumper, which Tomic bettered with a three-point play. Tomic stayed on fire with a five-meter jumper that Simas Buterlevicius erased with a close basket. Navarro struck from downtown. Nemanja Nedovic shined with a layup off a midcourt steal. Mickeal hit free throws and Navarro matched Nedovic's layup with a catch-and-shoot jumper. Samardziski scored down low, but Lorbek found Tomic for an easy basket and added his own basket for a 18-10 Barcelona lead. Mickeal made more foul shots and followed that with a three-pointer to boost the hosts' margin to 23-12. Deyan Ivanov shined with a follow-up layup that Navarro matched with a backdoor basket. Deividas Dulkys took over with a wild slam, Navarro scored in penetration and a buzzer-beating jumper by Leon Radosevic fixed the score at 27-18 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Rytas rallies, takes the lead
Both teams struggled to score early in the second quarter until Radosevic scored again to bring Rytas within 27-20. Dulkys soon added a stop-and-pop jumper and Radosevic downed another shot for a 27-24 score, forcing Barcelona to call timeout to adjust its offense and bring Tomic back in the game. C.J. Wallace split free throws and a three-pointer by Ivanov brought the guests even closer, 28-27, after a 1-11 run. Navarro hit free throws and Victor Sada sent a no-look assist for Lorbek, who gave Barcelona a 32-27 margin. Lorbek made foul shots, which Samarzdiski erased with a power layup. Nedovic scored in penetration. Navarro and Samardziski traded free throws. Navarro buried an off-balance shot, but Mindaugas Katelynas banked in a three-point shot to keep Rytas within 38-36. Katelynas scored again and a dunk-and-foul by Radosevic completed the guests' comeback, 39-41. Huertas and Ronnie Seibutis traded free throws and a coast-to-coast layup by Nedovic made it 41-45. A free throw by Huertas brought Barcelona within 42-45 at halftime.
Third quarter: Mickeal, Huertas rescue Barcelona
Mickeal nailed a mid-range shot immediately after the break, but Seibutis copied that at the other end. Lorbek hit a catch-and-shoot jumper, as L. Rytas tried to keep running its offense through Seibutis. He scored in penetration but a three-point play by Tomic tied the game, 49-49. Ivanov quickly answered from downtown and a backdoor layup by Lorbek kept Barcelona within 51-52. Nedovic shined with an alleyoop layup but L. Rytas had already entered the foul penalty, forcing the guests to change its defensive strategy. Tomic ignited the crowd with a two-handed dunk in traffic and a close basket by Mickeal put the hosts back ahead, 55-54. Tomic split foul shots but Radosevic tied the game with a jumper. Mickeal scored around the basket and Nate Jawai added a layup to give Barcelona some fresh air, 61-57. Jawai took over with an alleyoop layup but Nedovic answered with a driving basket. Huertas scored in penetration and followed that with a triple that gave Barcelona a 68-60 lead after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Navarro takes over, Barcelona seals it
Mickeal scored around the basket early in the fourth quarter to restore a double-digit Barcelona lead, 70-60. The hosts improved their defense right when it mattered, holding Rytas scoreless for more than two minutes. Xavi Rabaseda got the crowd involved with a dunk, which Radosevic matched with a close basket. Jawai detonated a big slam, as Barcelona tried to please the crowd with spectacular plays. Navarro buried a corner three-pointer and Rytas called timeout at 77-62, with less than six minutes left. Navarro insisted from downtown and followed that with a jumper as all the fans at Palau Blaugrana sang his name. Katelynas and Samardziski tried to change things for Rytas, but everything was said and done already. Navarro was awarded with a standing ovation when he left the game with three minutes left, as Barcelona had cruised to its seventh consecutive Euroleague win this season.
Thursday, November 22, 2012