Top 16 Round 6 - March 20, 2008 CET: 19:00 Local time: 19:00 - PALAU BLAUGRANA

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
2-3 Top 16 4-1
9-5 Regular Season 12-2
11-8 Overall 16-3

Referees

Crew Chief
PITSILKAS, NIKOLAOS, Greece
Referee
PILIPAUSKAS, KESTUTIS, Lithuania
Umpire
LATISEVS, OLEGS, Latvia

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
74.3 Points 79.4
33.1 Rebounds 32.8
10.5 O. Rebounds 8.8
22.6 D. Rebounds 24.1
14.6 Assists 14.1
9.0 Steals 7.7
3.8 Blocks 2.7
13.3 Turnovers 10.4
55.1 % 2PT 54.2 %
29.4 % 3PT 39.2 %
73.5 % FT 73.7 %
81.8 Index 92.2

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
13.1 / Lakovic Points 13.4 / Andersen
5.9 / TRIAS, JORDI Rebounds 6.2 / Andersen
2.3 / TRIAS, JORDI OR 2.3 / Goree
3.6 / TRIAS, JORDI DR 4.5 / Andersen
3.7 / SANCHEZ, PEPE Assists 4.5 / Papaloukas
1.6 / SANCHEZ, PEPE Steals 1.2 / LANGDON, TRAJAN
1.1 / ILYASOVA, ERSAN Blocks 1.1 / Goree
2.3 / Lakovic Turnovers 1.8 / Papaloukas
65.6 % / TRIAS, JORDI 2PT 60.3 % / SISKAUSKAS, RAMUNAS
39.4 % / Lakovic 3PT 54.5 % / Andersen
84.0 % / Acker FT 88.9 % / LANGDON, TRAJAN
13.9 / Lakovic Index 15.6 / Andersen

THE TAKE

AXA FC Barcelona will look to clinch a ticket to the Quarterfinal Playoffs on Thursday when it hosts CSKA Moscow in a Group G encounter. Since CSKA has already secured first place in the group and home-court advantage in the best-of-three playoffs, only one spot in the group is up for grabs and it will belong to Barca if it wins. A loss however would send the winner of Thursday’s other Group G game, Unicaja or Lottomatica Roma, into the quarterfinals. Barcelona has stumbled as of late, losing back-to-back games and three of its last four. On the other hand, the club has won both of its Top 16 home games under new head coach Xavier Pascual. Meanwhile CSKA has won its last two and four of five overall in the Top 16. The Russian champs cruised past Barcelona 72-55 when they met last month in Moscow behind 20 points and 8 rebounds from David Andersen. CSKA outrebounded Barcelona 40-32 and forced the visitors into 18 turnovers in that game. That game proved to be the only time a team has scored 70 points against Barcelona in the Top 16. Barca is the top ranked defensive team, only allowing 64.2 points per game, however CSKA is second at 64.4. And a key ingredient to the defensive success has been rebounding – CSKA leads the Top 16 with 37.2 per game and Barca is second at 35.4 The big difference between the clubs is that while Barca has struggled to score, averaging just 65.8 points and shooting just 26.6% from downtown, CSKA is averaging 77.2 points. CSKA has beaten Barcelona in four straight meetings, including twice last season as Andersen and Theo Papaloukas shined. Barcelona will turn to its deep roster to try and turn the tables. The hosts’ top scorer and on floor leader has been Jaka Lakovic, while playmaker Pepe Sanchez fuels the attack and Ersan Ilyasova has been a big factor on defense. Ilyasova joins Fran Vazquez, Denis Marconato and Jordi Trias as part of the Barca frontline that will challenge Andersen, Tomas Van den Spiegel, Matjaz Smodis, Viktor Khryapa and Marcus Goree. Meanwhile Lakovic and Sanchez are joined by Gianluca Basile, Roger Grimau and Alex Acker as part of a backcourt that must face Trajan Langdon, Ramunas Siskauskas, Papaloukas and J.R. Holden. Even though it’s a must-win game for the home side, CSKA is sure to fight hard for the win while spreading the minutes to be well prepared for the next stage. Barca’s urgency seems to make it the favorite on paper, but that means nothing once the ball is tipped off.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

PASCUAL, XAVI
AXA FC Barcelona
"First of all, I want to thank our fans for coming to support the team and be a very big factor today. The players have suffered all year long and needed something like this. Towards the end of the game we played more with our hearts than with our heads. It has been a good day because we have taken a step forwards and stayed alive in the Euroleague. Maccabi has improved in a similar way to us by using their big men to open up the court. They are in great form and together with Montepaschi and CSKA are the teams that are going into the playoff with the best momentum."

Players

BASILE, GIANLUCA
AXA FC Barcelona
"We know that Palau Blaugrana will be crowded and our fans will help us to win a crucial game for us. They are always backing us in the most important games and this one will be easier to play with their help. Of course, we want to be in the Euroleague playoffs. We need to be patient, especially in offense. CSKA is a very gifted team and they will make everything in order to win this game, but we have to be aware that we can beat them. Their offensive transition is really dangerous and we need to stop it."
Jaka Lakovic - AXA FC Barcelona It a nail-biting game that went down to the wire, AXA FC Barcelona made it to the Quarterfinal Playoffs by edging CSKA Moscow 64-62 in front of a sellout at Palau Blaugrana in Group G on Thursday night. Barcelona finished second in Group G with a 3-3 record due to its one-point tie-break advantage against Unicaja. Meanwhile, CSKA dropped to 4-2 but was already the Group G champion. Jaka Lakovic led the winners with 14 points and even when no-one else in Barcelona scored in double digits, 5 other players finished the game with at least 7 points. Victor Khryapa and Ramunas Siskauskas each had 13 points for CSKA, Trajan Langdon had 12 while Theo Papaloukas dished 10 assists for CSKA. In fact, Papaloukas broke the all-time Top 16 assists record by dishing 42 in this phase. Barcelona opened the game with a 13-2 run but CSKA already got the lead, 15-16, at the end of the first quarter. The game turned into a intense, thrilling battle from now on and Ersan Ilyasova dunked it for a 64-61 Barcelona edge with 7.1 seconds to go. Siskauskas drew a foul and missed the second on purpose, but CSKA got the ball back. It all came down to the final shot but J. R. Holden, who went scoreless tonight, missed a corner triple at the buzzer.

Alex Acker got Barcelona going with a layup-plus-foul while Gianluca Basile beat the buzzer with a bomb from way downtown for a 6-0 Barcelona lead. CSKA quickly called timeout but Fran Vazquez followed a jump hook with a layup to cap a 10-0 Barcelona run. CSKA had been scoreless for more than 4 minutes until Matjaz Smodis made free throws but Basile buried his second three-pointer for a 13-2 Barcelona lead. Smodis kept pacing CSKA with a triple while Tomas Van den Spiegel dunked it to bring the guests back to life, 14-7. Barcelona struggled to score and did not find any open shots now. Meanwhile, Siskauskas made free throws for a five-point CSKA deficit, 14-9. Jordi Trias sank a foul shot but Khryapa answered from downtown while Langdon added free throws to get CSKA back in the game, 15-14. More foul shots by Khryapa completed the guests' comeback, 15-16, after 10 minutes.

J.R. Holden - CSKA MoscowSiskauskas shined with a left-handed layup that capped a 2-16 run and gave CSKA a 15-18 edge early in the second quarter. Denis Marconato got the crowd involved with a dunk but Van den Spiegel copied him in the other end. Marconato scored again in the low post but David Andersen dunked it to keep CSKA ahead, 19-22. Acker and Siskauskas traded baskets but Marconato tied the game with a three-point play, 24-24. CSKA had troubles to score but kept shining in defense, just as usual. As such, both teams went scoreless for 2 minutes until Siskauskas downed a free throw. Acker beat the shot clock with a left-handed power layup. Marcus Goree provided a highlight with a fast break dunk that Jaka Lakovic erased with an acrobatic layup. Nikos Zisis and Mario Kasun traded free throws while Smodis put CSKA back ahead, 29-30. Lakovic sank a corner triple that Khryapa erased in the other end for a 32-33 CSKA edge at halftime.

Landgon nailed a three-pointer right after the break, as Barcelona started to miss open shots from downtown. The hosts went scoreless for almost 3 minutes until Roger Grimau stepped up with a driving basket, but Andersen fired in his trademark mid-range jumper for a 34-38 CSKA lead. Barcelona called timeout but CSKA kept its momentum going with great defense. Vazquez scored inside to get Barcelona going, pushed by an incredible crowd. Meanwhile, Pepe Sanchez tied the game with a long two-pointer, 38-38. Khryapa silenced the crowd with his third triple and then matched Grimau's driving layup with free throws for a 40-43 CSKA edge. Trias buried a five-meter shot while Grimau added another driving basket to put Barcelona back ahead, 43-44. Van den Spiegel took over with a big basket in the low post but Lakovic fired in his second three-pointer and added a layup-plus-foul for a 50-45 Barcelona lead. CSKA called timeout and Papaloukas fed Langdon for a buzzer-beating triple that got CSKA within 50-48 after three quarters.

Ersan Ilyasova - AXA FC BarcelonaIlyasova took over with a put-back layup early in fourth quarter but Siskauskas bettered it with a triple in transition while Papaloukas scored in penetration to put CSKA back ahead, 52-53. The game turned into a physical battle as Barcelona made the most out of it, not allowing any easy shots. Lakovic beat the shot clock with a huge triple to restore a 55-53 edge with 5 minutes to go. Vazquez had a key block on Andersen that sent the crowd to their feet. Andersen took revenge with a layup in CSKA's next possession for a 55-55 tie. Ilyasova made a free throw, as CSKA opted to slow down the game tempo without much success. Lakovic fed Ilyasova for an easy layup that gave the hosts a 58-55 edge with 2 minutes to go. Vazquez stepped up with a second-chance layup but Langdon sank an unbelievable triple for a 60-58 CSKA deficit already in the final minute. Langdon made a free throw with 21.2 seconds remaining. Basile scored off a timeout, Siskauskas made free throws while Ilyasova dunked with 7.1 seconds remaining for a 64-61 Barcelona edge. He missed the free throw that came with it, but Siskauskas drew a foul with 2.6 seconds, hit the first attempt and missed the second on purpose but a double foul on Vazquez and Smodis gave CSKA the ball back at 64-62. Holden missed from the left corner at the buzzer, allowing all Barcelona fans to celebrate that their team made it to the Quarterfinal Playoffs!

Thursday, March 20, 2008
Euroleague.net
Referees: PITSILKAS, NIKOLAOS (GRE), PILIPAUSKAS, KESTUTIS (LTU), LATISEVS, OLEGS (LAT)
Attendance: 6558
By Quarter1234
AXA FC Barcelona15171814
CSKA Moscow16171514
End of Quarter1234
AXA FC Barcelona15325064
CSKA Moscow16334862
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI
AXA FC Barcelona
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
5 BASILE, GIANLUCA 27:28 8 1/5 2/7     4 4 1 1     1 3   1
6 SANCHEZ, PEPE 17:17 2 1/2 0/4   1 1 2   1 2     2   -4
8 TRIAS, JORDI 10:24 3 1/1   1/2   1 1     1     2 1 1
9 MARCONATO, DENIS 23:03 7 3/5 0/1 1/1 1 8 9     1     2 2 12
10 LAKOVIC, JAKA 27:04 14 2/3 3/8 1/1   4 4 3 2 2     1 5 19
13 NEAL, GARY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 16:09 8 4/7 0/1   1 1 2   2   2   4 1 7
21 ILYASOVA, ERSAN 20:15 8 3/7 0/1 2/5 2 2 4 1 1 1 1     3 9
24 MONCASI, ALBERT DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
34 ACKER, ALEX 22:12 7 3/3 0/2 1/1       1 3 3     2 2 6
41 KASUN, MARIO 8:46 1     1/2   1 1     1     1 1  
44 GRIMAU, ROGER 27:22 6 3/5 0/3   1 7 8 3   1   1 2 2 10
Team           3   3   1 1         3
Totals 200:00 64 21/38 5/27 7/12 9 29 38 9 11 13 3 2 19 17 64
55.3% 18.5% 58.3%
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
Head coach: MESSINA, ETTORE
CSKA Moscow
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 PAPALOUKAS, THEODOROS 27:18 2 1/3 0/1     2 2 10 3 4     1 2 11
6 ZISIS, NIKOS 11:30 1 0/1   1/2   2 2     1     4 1 -3
8 SMODIS, MATJAZ 20:46 7 1/4 1/2 2/2 1 7 8     1   1 3 2 8
9 SISKAUSKAS, RAMUNAS 29:30 13 2/6 1/2 6/8 1 3 4 2 1 2 1 1 3 5 13
10 HOLDEN, J.R. 22:56   0/6 0/2     2 2     1     1 1 -7
11 PASHUTIN, ZAKHAR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 ANDERSEN, DAVID 16:49 6 3/10     2 6 8 1   2   1 2 1 4
21 LANGDON, TRAJAN 30:12 12 0/1 3/6 3/4   3 3   3       1 4 16
22 GOREE, MARCUS 10:56 2 1/2       2 2     1 1   1   2
23 SHVED, ALEXEY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
24 VAN DEN SPIEGEL, TOMAS 11:23 6 3/3     1 1 2     1         7
31 KHRYAPA, VICTOR 18:40 13 0/3 3/4 4/4 1 2 3 1 2 2     1 3 15
Team           1 1 2   1           3
Totals 200:00 62 11/39 8/17 16/20 7 31 38 14 10 15 2 3 17 19 69
28.2% 47.1% 80%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

PASCUAL, XAVI
AXA FC Barcelona
"First of all, I want to thank our fans for coming to support the team and be a very big factor today. The players have suffered all year long and needed something like this. Towards the end of the game we played more with our hearts than with our heads. It has been a good day because we have taken a step forwards and stayed alive in the Euroleague. Maccabi has improved in a similar way to us by using their big men to open up the court. They are in great form and together with Montepaschi and CSKA are the teams that are going into the playoff with the best momentum."
MESSINA, ETTORE
CSKA Moscow
"Congratulations to Barcelona. I wish them luck in the playoffs. It was a difficult game. CSKA played with a lot of heart out of respect for the competition and tried to win the game. I am not satisfied with the way my team played. It is tough to play always at 100% and today physically we did not take advantage under the baskets. As for the competition, we are always the favourites. If you want to play on a team like this, that will always be the case. We did not have connection between our inside and outside game. Barcelona defended the pick-and-roll very well, forcing us to shoot 28% from the field."

Players

ILYASOVA, ERSAN
AXA FC Barcelona
"I am very happy to be in the playoffs. We have been working hard the whole year. Today's game is the hardest we have had all season. Thanks for limiting our turnovers, executing our plays and stopping their big guys, we won the game. The game plan was to stop their pick-and-roll. They have lots of great players such as Papaloukas, who are great in the pick-and-roll. We stopped them to win the game. We have to do the same against Maccabi. If we execute our plays, feel confident and stay positive, the opponents don't matter. The first 2-3 months were tough for me to adjust. It was a new city, a new team and a coach. My teammates have been great, made me feel good and now I am playing with more confidence."
LANGDON, TRAJAN
CSKA Moscow
"It was kind of a crazy game with a crazy finish. We didn't play bad basketball, but they played well enough to beat us. Both teams tried, both teams wanted the victory, but they were sure happy to get the victory in front of their home fans to advance. For us, now, it's a matter of using the 10 days we have in front of us to get ready for the playoffs."
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