2009-10Top 16Round 3
February 11, 2010 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Barcelona toppled still-winless Panathinaikos 83-71

The big Group E showdown in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday night was all about one team, Regal FC Barcelona, as the hosts defeated defending Euroleague champion Panathinaikos 83-71. The win lifts Barca to 2-1 and a share of a three-way tie with Partizan and Maroussi BC for first place in Group E, while Panathinaikos drops to 0-3 and is surprisingly winless at the midway point of the Top 16. The two teams meet again in two weeks in Athens. The hosts started with the upper hand thanks to hot three-point shooting and never looked back as in the second quarter, a surprise guest, Roger Grimau stepped up and took Barca to the next level. In the third quarter, the duo of Erazem Lorbek and Boni N'Dong launched Barca. A couple of scoring runs in the last period allowed the Greens to trim the deficit, but they never really threatened the hosts' win. Grimau led the way for the winners with 17 points, N'Dong added 16, Lorbek 14 and Juan Carlos Navarro posted 11. For Panathinaikos, Mike Batiste led all scorers with his 19 points and 7 boards, Drew Nicholas and Nikola Pekovic added 11 apiece and Vassilis Spanoulis chipped in with 10.

A zone defense allowed Ricky Rubio to get a steal and force the first foul of the game and the first points from the line for Barca. Nicholas hit a jumper for Panathinaikos, but the hosts started dominating with the offensive rebounds. The Greens pushed hard on defense, but Juan Carlos Navarro scored and Dimitris Diamantidis had a fast reply to make it 6-5. When Barca managed to circulate the ball, Pete Mickeal found an open three and Lorbek copied him from the same spot as the hosts tried to run and were succeeding at this point, 12-5. Batiste stopped the bleeding from the paint as both teams were running too much now with turnovers for each side. Both defenses took the rival's attack to the limit, but the hosts had the upper hand while dominating the defensive rebounds. It was Batiste again - with a five-meter jumper - to get the score going again, but Rubio replied with a three. Baskets came in fast again favoring the style of the hosts as Navarro scored and then Mickeal joined in transition to force Panathinaikos's first timeout, 19-11. Rubio added free throws for the first double-digit lead, but with Pekovic now on the floor, the Greens gained power in the paint. Terence Morris hit the third three from the right wing for Barca, while Pekovic sent N'Dong to the bench having forced his second foul in one minute. Gianluca Basile blasted Barca's fifth three in six attempts to close the first period with a 29-18 edge for the hosts.

Pekovic opened the second quarter with more free throws for Panathinaikos and Morris hit one for Barcelona. Grimau drove in traffic to leave all Green defenders behind for a layup, but Spanoulis tried to break the hosts' defense with a three-point play. Lorbek stepped up now for 4 points in a row in the paint and as the Greens based all their offensive charge on Pekovic, Grimau blocked him to bring the house down. Grimau himself added free throws after showing his pride on offense while on the other side, Nicholas finally blasted a three for the guests as the hosts' defense locked the combination between Spanoulis and Pekovic again and again. Grimau scored his sixth in a row and Nicholas went for his fifth after the Greens' first offensive board. Fran Vazquez committed his third foul allowing Antonis Fotsis to score free throws, but an immense Grimau did the same for his 10th point in the quarter and 44-29 lead. With patience, Nicholas managed to find a layup and Batiste traveled to the line to add 2. Entering the last minute, Rubio was secure from the line as Pekovic and Batiste combined efforts in offense for the basket and the former hit two more free throws to close the first half with a 47-38 edge for Barcelona.

Lorbek opened the second half with a dunk for Barcelona and then he added free throws. Batiste fought for the offensive board and got Panathinaikos in the scoring race, but Navarro replied with another Barca three to make it 54-40. The Greens were now punishing the hosts with offensive rebounds, but on offense Navarro fed N'Dong for a three-point play. Spanoulis and Lorbek traded threes as both teams were pushing the pedal to the metal on both ends of the court. No easy baskets came on either side as both teams looked inside for the big men. N'Dong scored again to get Barca to 62-45 with Grimau was back on court. Good defense could not avoid Diamantidis's three at the shot clock buzzer when there was no other option for the Greens, but Grimau's hand didn't shake for a six-meter jumper. Pekovic showed his resources in the low -71 with two minutes to go. Navarro stopped the new avalanche with more free throws that would close the game, allowing Barca to add its second Top 16 win. post for a bucket, but N'Dong kept adding points to maintain the comfortable lead for the hosts, 68-54 after 30 minutes.

Panathinaikos head coach Zeljko Obradovic was called a technical foul between the third and fourth quarters and Navarro opened the last 10 minutes with a resulting free throw. Soon, a fastbreak finished by Grimau made it 72-54 after the extra foul shot. Nick Calathes missed free throws for the Greens and on the other end Grimau scored yet again to make it a 6-0 to start the quarter and boost the lead to 20 points. Batiste finally scored for the guests from the paint as Panathinaikos tried a zone on defense, but Morris managed to break it in the middle of the paint. Panathinaikos didn't give up easily. Forcing Barca mistakes from defense, the Greens managed to trim the deficit to 76-62 with a 0-6 burst. N'Dong scored free throws to stop the bleeding and he soon slammed to force a three-point play for 81-62, putting things back in place. The hosts defended to the limit, but Panathinaikos survived every time, especially when Diamantidis blasted a three on the buzzer to make it 81-67. Batiste was the go-to guy in the last minutes for the guests and Marcus Haislip hit free throws to make it a 0-7 run and 81-71 with two minutes to go. Navarro stopped the avalanche with more free throws that would close the game, allowing Barca to add its second Top 16 win.

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Edu Roca, Euroleague.net, Barcelona
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Attendance: 7359
By Quarter1234
Regal FC Barcelona29182115
End of Quarter1234
Regal FC Barcelona29476883
Regal FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 BASILE, GIANLUCA 15:13 3   1/1     1 1 1   2     2 1 2
8 TRIAS, JORDI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 RUBIO, RICKY 24:09 9 0/2 1/2 6/6   1 1 3 1 5     2 4 8
10 LAKOVIC, JAKA 5:16   0/2 0/1         1 2       1   -1
11 NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS 27:57 11 2/5 1/6 4/6   1 1 5 1 2   2 2 3 5
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 9:05 2 1/1           1 2       4   1
21 NDONG, BONIFACE 23:10 16 5/9   6/6 1 4 5 1     2   2 5 23
23 MORRIS, TERENCE 17:06 6 1/2 1/1 1/2 1 3 4 1   1     3 1 6
24 SADA, VICTOR 10:36                         2 2  
25 LORBEK, ERAZEM 30:24 14 3/5 2/3 2/2 2 3 5   1       2 1 16
33 MICKEAL, PETE 20:20 5 1/3 1/2   1 4 5 2 1       2 1 9
44 GRIMAU, ROGER 16:44 17 5/6 0/1 7/7 1 5 6 1   3 2   2 5 24
Team           2   2     1         1
Totals 200:00 83 18/35 7/17 26/29 8 22 30 16 8 14 4 2 24 23 94
        51.4% 41.2% 89.7%
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 TEPIC, MILENKO 3:49   0/1 0/1     1 1         1     -2
6 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 26:04 10 3/6 1/5 1/1 1 1 2 2 2 4   1 4 2 2
7 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS 17:25 5 1/2   3/5   3 3 1 2 1     3 3 7
8 BATISTE, MIKE 29:26 19 8/11 0/3 3/4 3 4 7 1 2 1     3 3 21
9 FOTSIS, ANTONIS 14:04 1     1/2       1   1       1 1
10 HAISLIP, MARCUS 20:24 6 1/4 0/1 4/4 2 3 5     1   1 3 2 4
11 NICHOLAS, DREW 29:49 11 3/6 1/2 2/2   2 2 5 1 2 1   3 1 12
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 35:41 8 1/1 2/3     2 2 2   3 1   4 4 9
14 PEKOVIC, NIKOLA 16:05 11 2/4   7/8   1 1     1   1 2 7 12
15 CALATHES, NICK 7:13   0/1   0/2 1 2 3 1 1       1 1 2
16 SHERMADINI, GIORGI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 VERGINIS, DIMITRIOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1   1     1     1   -1
Totals 200:00 71 19/36 4/15 21/28 8 19 27 13 8 15 2 4 24 24 67
        52.8% 26.7% 75%

Head Coaches

Regal FC Barcelona
"I am very happy with this win against the defending champs. We were expecting a tough game and that's what we found. We played an excellent first quarter, woth good defense, moving the ball well and shooting great. In the second quarter, after being 14 points ahead, we went down with three straight turnovers and they got close to minus nine. But in the second half we controlled the rhythm even though we went down from 20 to 12 points in the end. Maybe we could have won by some more points but in general, I am pleased. The group is super balanced and anything can happen. I think that the only team with a slight advantage is Partizan because they have played on the road twice and won as a visitor. There are many games ahead though, and nothing is decided yet."
"First of all I want to congratulate Barcelona, they played a good game, especially an excellent first quarter. They shot just perfect. After that, we found our rhythm for some time, but it wasn't enough to beat this Barcelona that, right now, plays really well and I already see them in the Paris Final Four. However, saying they will be champs is too risky at this point. I always say the same: In the Final Four, each team has 25% of options. What is the problem of my team in this Top 16? The others played better! What are you going to do? We just have to fight until the end in the three remaining games. There's no point in changing this habit. The true problem is the tough calendar because while Europe will be playing the National Cups, we will play two league games, later our Cup game against Olympiacos and then the Top 16 again. But that's how it is and we can only work and fight for it."


Regal FC Barcelona
"When you play with the defensive intensity we showed today, when you shoot that well and when you jump better than the rival, it's hard to lose. The difference could have been a little bigger but the most important thing was the win. And we got it."
Regal FC Barcelona
"It was a great game in a great atmosphere. I think we played a complete game throughout the 40 minutes, however it was a shame that they managed to cut our lead by a few points in the end, because in the Top 16, this is important. Anyway, a win was crucial for us today, in the Top 16 you must win all home games to have solid options to advance, and taking a look at our group, becoming tougher by the minute, this win tonight is even more valuable."
"Barcelona opened the game with an excellent first quarter and it was hard for us to come back. We are in a complicated situation, but we will keep on fighting while there's still a mathematical option for us to make it into the Quarterfinal Playoffs."
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