Tomic shines, leads Barcelona past Zalgiris
FC Barcelona improved to 3-2 in Top 16 Group E by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 89-72 at home on Friday. Barcelona grabbed its third win in as many Top 16 home games, while Zalgiris dropped to 1-4. Ante Tomic led the winners with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Bostjan Nachbar added 15 points, while Bostjan Nachbar and Mario Hezonja each had 12 for Barcelona. Arturas Gudaitis paced Zalgiris with 17 points and Edgaras Ulanovas added 14. Barcelona found easy points in the paint early, as Doellman, Tomic and Maciej Lampe fueled an 18-2 run that gave the hosts a 29-13 lead after 10 minutes. Gudaitis and Ulanovas tried to change things for Zalgiris, but Barcelona used great team effort to extend its margin to 51-33 at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Barcelona kept a 67-53 lead at the end of the third quarter and boosted the difference to 84-63 to seal the win long before the final buzzer. Euroleague legend Sarunas Jasikevicius was honored in a brief pre-game ceremony. Juan Carlos Navarro, the Euroleague's all-time top scorer, handed him a jersey with his name and number - Jasikevicius, #13 - signed by the current Barcelona squad. Jasikevicius helped Barcelona win its first Euroleague title in 2003.
First quarter: Tomic, Doellman take charge early
Justin Doellman got Barcelona going with a driving basket, which Robertas Javtokas quickly erased with a layup. Doellman kept pacing the hosts with a fast break layup, which Tomic followed with a jump hook and a 6-2 Barcelona lead. Doellman dunked and a layup by Tomic saw Zalgiris call timeout at 10-2. Vaidas Kariniauskas banked in a close shot, but Tomic erased it with free throws and DeShaun Thomas added an acrobatic basket which made it a double-digit game, 14-4. Thomas dunked and Mario Hezonja ignited the crowd with a wild, one-handed alley-oop slam. Maciej Lampe scored down low to cap an 18-2 run. Arturas Gudaitis tried to change things with foul shots. Will Cherry hit a one-handed floater, but Lampe kept Barcelona way ahead, 23-8. Darius Songaila nailed a baseline jumper, which Boki Nachbar bettered with a triple. Arturas Milaknis and Edwin Jackson traded bombs from downtown for a 29-13 score after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Despite Zalgiris’s efforts, Barcelona extends lead
Tomas Dimsa shined with a big dunk early in the quarter and Songaila swished a six-meter jumper, as Zalgiris held the hosts scoreless for more than two minutes. Barcelona called timeout after which Nachbar stepped up with a corner three, but a big dunk in traffic by Gudaitis kept Zalgiris within 32-19. After Tomic hit his trademark jump hook, Gudaitis split foul shots. A three-point play by Jackson boosted the hosts' margin to 37-20. Gudaitis kept pacing Zalgiris with a jumper, but Marcelinho Huertas and Doellman broke the game open at 41-22. Hezonja scored around the basket, but Ulanovas did better with a three-pointer. Hezonja scored again, but back-to-back baskets by Ulanovas kept Zalgiris within 45-29. Tomic and Ulanovas traded free throws and Tomas Satoransky took over with a huge alley-oop slam. Hezonja gave the hosts a 20-points lead, which James Anderson cut to 51-33 at halftime.
Third quarter: Zalgiris looks to rally
Both teams struggled to score after the break until Doellman stepped up with a fast break layup. Zalgiris was held scoreless for almost three minutes and a catch-and-shoot jumper by Doellman improved the lead to 55-33. Paulius Jankunas hit a close shot - his first points - which Tomic erased with a turnaround jumper. Jankunas kept pacing the guests with a put-back basket, which Tomic erased with a layup. Milaknis downed his second triple and a dunk by Gudaitis brought Zalgiris a bit closer, 59-42. After Lampe nailed a five-meter jumper, Gudaitis dunked again and a layup by Songaila made it a 15-point game. Barcelona did not panic, however, as Thomas and Nachbar hit free throws. Gudaitis scored in the paint and followed Nachbar's foul shots with yet another slam. A three-pointer by Ulanovas fixed the score at 67-53.
Fourth quarter: Barcelona cruises to big win
Songaila buried a six-meter jumper early in the quarter, which a red-hot Nachbar bettered with a three-pointer. Tomic took over with a two-handed slam and Nachbar also dunked to cause Zalgiris to call a much-needed timeout at 74-55. Anderson slashed for a one-handed dunk, however Hezonja quickly answered with a fast break layup and free throws by Gudaitis kept Zalgiris within 76-59. After Satoransky sank foul shots, Siim Sander-Vene hit a close jumper. Tibor Pleiss found his first points to seal the outcome, 80-61. Satoransky provided a highlight with a huge fast break slam and even though Milaknis banked in a running jumper to beat the shot clock, everything was said and done already. Barcelona had plenty of time to celebrate a big win.
Friday, January 30, 2015