2008-09PlayoffsGame 5
April 09, 2009 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALAU BLAUGRANA

Barcelona overwhelmed Tau 78-62

Barcelona is going to Berlin! Regal FC Barcelona is back in the Final Four for the first time since 2006 after overwhelming Tau Ceramica 78-62 on Thursday before a sellout crowd at Palau Blaugrana in Game 5 to win their best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoff series 3-2. An incredible basketball atmosphere gave Barcelona an extra boost to stay alive in the competition and seek its second continental crown in Berlin from May 1 to 3. Barcelona will face defending champion CSKA Moscow in one of the semifinals. Panathinaikos and Olympiacos will meet in the other semifinal. Great early shooting and outstanding defense let Barcelona play ahead from tipoff to buzzer and manage leads that swelled to 21 points, 70-49, in the final quarter. Home-team hero Juan Carlos Navarro sparked the win with 16 first-half points on the way to 19 for the game, while Ersan Ilyasova matched him, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished 4 assists. Jaka Lakovic added 16 points for the winners. Tau got 19 points on 8-for-10 two-point shooting from Tiago Splitter, 14 more from Pete Mickeal and 10 from Igor Rakocevic. The game marked only the second time in European basketball history that a series has reached a fifth, do-or-die battle, and as in the 2001 finals, Tau lost both times. Navarro had 11 points in the first quarter as Barcelona raced ahead 23-15. A big three-pointer by Pablo Prigioni could only bring Tau within 40-30 at halftime. Tau got within 7 points twice after that, the last time midway through the third quarter, before David Andersen and Ilyasova combined on a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach. Andersen became the first player to reach the Final Four with four different teams - Kinder Bologna, Montepaschi Siena, CSKA Moscow and Barcelona.

Tau head coach Dusko Ivanovic sent out a surprise starter, swingman Fernando San Emeterio, who had played no more than 7 minutes in any previous game of the series. Lakovic got Barcelona going with a three-pointer and Will McDonald made a tip-in for Tau's first points. Navarro struck from downtown and then matched Splitter's jump hook with his trademark 'bomba' shot, a running one-hander. Tau controlled the boards but could not find open shots. Meanwhile, an unstoppable Navarro nailed a fade-away triple and Ilyasova joined Barcelona's three-point shootout by hitting on off the dribble as the shot clock expired. Like that, Barcelona owned a double-digit lead, 14-4. Tau called timeout and tried to open the court by bringing Mickeal and Teletovic on court. Tau's first highlight saw Prigioni pass behind his back to Splitter for a layup-plus-free throw. Navarro matched it, however, with one shot, an eight-meter blast from way above the top of the arc. Splitter responded with an up-and-under layup, then a fastbreak basket by Rakocevic brought Tau back to life at 17-11. Fran Vazquez joined Barcelona's scoring with a second-chance jump hook that Rakocevic answered with a layup in transition. Ilyasova and Lakovic added to Barcelona's lead with consecutive layups. And despite tough defense by the hosts, an acrobatic layup by Splitter, clearly Tau's go-to guy so far, trimmed the difference to 23-15 after 10 outstanding minutes.

Sergi Vidal came on for Tau sank a wide open three-pointer right at the start of the second quarter, while Gianluca Basile briefly left the game for Barcelona with a small injury. Vazquez sent the Barcelona fans to their feet with a layup-plus-free throw combination, but a five-meter jumper by Mickeal kept Tau as close as 26-20. The guests lacked concentration, especially on offense, while Navarro kept pouring in shots, the next one from way downtown - he was 4 for 6 in triples already - to keep Barcelona out of trouble at 29-20. Tau kept struggling to score as Victor Sada managed to prevent Prigioni from feeling comfortable. Navarro made free throws that Mickeal matched with a driving layup, soon adding foul shots to keep Tau as close as 31-24. Lakovic was next to the line and did not miss while Lubos Barton added a shot in traffic to make it an 11-point game, 35-24. Prigioni rescued Tau with a driving layup but Barton matched it with free throws on Mickeal's third foul. David Andersen buried a three-pointer for the highest lead yet, 40-27, as Tau could not get Rakocevic or Splitter involved now. Barcelona missed two tries to up the lead to 16 points, before Prigioni made the hosts pay with a seven-meter triple that fixed the halftime score at 10 points, 40-30.

Teletovic downed a three-pointer immediately after the break but Navarro answered from downtown - his fifth triple - for a 43-33 score. Barcelona successfully locked the defensive boards with Vazquez and Ilyasova together on court. Vazquez dunked it over Splitter but Vidal silenced the crowd with a five-meter jumper. Ilyasova and Splitter traded layups while a jump hook by Vazquez made it a 12-point game, 49-37. Splitter provided a highlight with a wild dunk-and-foul, as Tau slowly improved its defense midway through the third quarter. Barcelona struggled to score now and tried to improve its offense with Andersen back on court. The guests missed several open shots, however, while Lakovic got the crowd involved with a power layup. Splitter scored again in the low post while free throws by Mickeal kept Tau in the game, 51-44. Barcelona quickly readjusted its defense, however, while Andersen buried back-to-back baseline jumpers - one from each side - to give Barcelona some fresh air, 55-44. Ilyasova banked in a triple that made it a 14-point game, 58-44, after 30 minutes.

The fourth quarter started just as the third period ended, as Ilyasova sank a three-pointer from the top of the key - exactly from the same spot - to break the game open, 61-44, after a 10-0 run. Rakocevic buried a close jumper but Ilyasova set the crowd on fire with an outstanding dunk. Tau tried to speed up the game tempo, as Rakocevic raced downcourt for a stop-and-pop jumper. Roger Grimau dunked it while Lakovic finished a long Barcelona offense with a corner triple that sealed the outcome, 68-49, with under 7 minutes to go. Tau called timeout but Barcelona was already running the clock down. Mickeal downed consecutive three-pointers but only managed to bring Tau within 70-55 with 4 minutes remaining. Everything was said and done up to this point, as Barcelona will keep fighting for Euroleague glory. Meanwhile, despite missing the Final Four for the first time since 2005, Tau had a bitter end to yet another fantastic Euroleague season.

Thursday, April 9, 2009
Javier Gancedo, Barcelona
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Attendance: 7685
By Quarter1234
Regal FC Barcelona23171820
Tau Ceramica15151418
End of Quarter1234
Regal FC Barcelona23405878
Tau Ceramica15304462
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 30:25     0/2   1 2 3 3 1       1   4
6 BARRETT, ANDRE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 TRIAS, JORDI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 BARTON, LUBOS 6:58 4 1/1   2/2   5 5       2     1 12
10 LAKOVIC, JAKA 33:55 16 4/7 2/8 2/3   1 1 3 1       3 6 14
11 NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS 30:11 19 1/3 5/8 2/2       3 1 2     1 5 20
13 ANDERSEN, DAVID 21:52 7 2/6 1/2     3 3 1 1       1   6
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 17:23 9 4/7   1/1 2   2     1 1   4 1 5
21 ILYASOVA, ERSAN 26:20 19 5/9 3/3   4 6 10 4   1   1 1   26
24 SADA, VICTOR 6:05   0/1                     1 1 -1
25 SANTIAGO, DANIEL 14:12 2 1/2       2 2 1 1 3     4   -2
44 GRIMAU, ROGER 12:39 2 1/4     2 1 3 1 1     1 2 1 2
Team             3 3     2         1
Totals 200:00 78 19/40 11/23 7/8 9 23 32 16 6 9 3 2 18 15 87
        47.5% 47.8% 87.5%
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
Tau Ceramica
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 30:35 6 1/2 1/4 1/2 1 1 2 3   1     3 2 4
6 ILIEVSKI, VLADO 9:25     0/1     1 1     1     1 2  
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 28:33 10 5/10 0/2     3 3 2 4 3   1 1 2 9
9 VIDAL, SERGI 24:05 6 1/4 1/1 1/2 1 2 3 2   1     1 3 8
11 ESLAVA, ARIEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 TELETOVIC, MIRZA 29:12 5 1/1 1/5   1 4 5 2   1     2   5
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 7:40     0/2           1 1     1   -3
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO 32:54 19 8/10   3/7 1 6 7 1   3 2 1 1 6 24
33 MICKEAL, PETE 24:14 14 2/4 2/3 4/4 2 5 7     3   1 3 3 14
45 MCDONALD, WILL 13:22 2 1/3 0/1   2 1 3     1     2   -1
Team           2   2   2           4
Totals 200:00 62 19/34 5/19 9/15 10 23 33 10 7 15 2 3 15 18 64
        55.9% 26.3% 60%

Head Coaches

Regal FC Barcelona
"First of all, I would like to congratulate all Barcelona fans. This win is for this club and for Palau Blaugrana. I always say it is our sanctuary and even goes beyond that. We managed to be better in all aspects of the game. We dominated the offensive boards in the first quarter and good ball circulation led to open shots. We managed to play with our big men and, when we did, we always had open shots. We were smart on offense and solid on defense, stopping their pick-and-roll situations and managing to slow down Igor Rakocevic. Tiago Splitter kept them in the game, but we won all four quarters and were the fair winners of this game. It took us eight months to reach this game, we played hard to have Game 5 at home and it all paid off right now. Looking back in the series, we played against two teams in Game 1: Tau Ceramica and us. That did not allow us to win or have our own identity. It all changed in Game 2, when we broke their winning streak against us. We have been better, psychologically speaking, and only injuries did not allow us to seal the series before. We played better and better, believing in our own chances. We are just two steps away from winning the Euroleague title, which is our goal. We are happy with the hard work we did so far, but this is not a success. Only titles give success. Above all, CSKA is used to winning and has been winning for a long time. Tau is at that level and it took us one game to play at their level. We won't have that chance in the Final Four."
Tau Ceramica
"The key to this game was Barcelona's strong start, with outstanding shot selection. That gave them a lot of confidence. I would like to congratulate Regal FC Barcelona because they played really well tonight. The losses in Games 2 and 4 cost us the series. Ersan Ilyasova played a great game with great shooting and helping with the offensive boards. He made the difference tonight. Best of luck to Barcelona in the Final Four. There will be no favorites in Berlin because all four teams are very balanced."


Regal FC Barcelona
"It feels good to be back in Final Four, but we have to keep our feet on the ground, because we didn't do anything yet. The key to this game was our defense and our concentration. We managed to play smart defense and I think we dominated the entire game. We also were the better team in the series, just because of our defense. That allowed us to be really focused on offense. Every turnover or steal or missed shot in this series was important. I want to say that I respect Tau a lot and the Final Four will miss their team after so many years in the event. It is a very big team that also deserves to be in the Final Four, but we managed to make it instead."
Regal FC Barcelona
"This is a very important win for us. We are now going to the Final Four and it is really exciting for all of us. We know we still have to win two more games to win the championship. We have to stay focused and do what we do all the time: play strong defense. Team defense was once again the key tonight. Everybody brought something to the court on defense, and most importantly, we played as a team. I try to do everything I can to help my team win games, offensively or defensively."
Regal FC Barcelona
"We worked well in this game and I don't know if the sense of superiority we had was seen outside the court. We managed to increase our lead little by little and managed to win the game. There are a lot of basketball fans in Barcelona, this is much more than a football club. I am a big Barcelona fan myself and was a bit nervous for what may happen before the game, but we worked well throughout the week and managed to make it to the Final Four."
Tau Ceramica
"We played for a very big goal, which was making it to the Final Four again, but we couldn't do it. Nothing went right for us, and Barcelona was the best team on the floor tonight. They played better, and even when we tried to get back in the game, we didn't manage to do it because of turnovers and missed shots. Things like this happen, and now we must focus on the Spanish League."
Tau Ceramica
"There is nothing much to say. Congratulations to Barcelona because they played at a very high level with outstanding shot selection. There is little to be said, just to wish them success in Berlin. We have to focus in the Spanish League from now on and face those games as a new challenge for us. It has been a long time since a team has won consecutive Spanish League titles. We must bounce back from this loss, wish them luck and go for the Spanish League title. They played well in the beginning and we struggle sometimes when we are behind in the scoreboard. We stayed in the game, but did not feel comfortable."
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