After winning the Spanish King's Cup last weekend, Winterthur FC Barcelona showed that it's in peak form with a 97-73 home win over Prokom Trefl Sopot on Thursday night. An amazing offensive performance by Gianluca Basile in the first half allowed the hosts to build a large lead and without pressure, Barca rolled to the easy win. With the result, Barcelona starts the Top 16 with a 1-0 record to co-lead Group F with Panathinaikos, while Prokom starts with a 0-1 tied with Efes Pilsem. Basile led his team with 18 points, Jordi Trias and Fran Vazquez added 15 apiece as the former didn't miss a shot and also added 7 rebounds to his numbers. Michalis Kakiouzis also had 11 points for the winners. Rashid Atkins led the way for Prokom with 19 points, Huseyin Besok posted 16 and Christian Dalmau nailed 11.
Big man Besok hit a mid-range jumper, but Juan Carlos Navarro soon replied for Barcelona to make it 2-2. Basile's steal and fastbreak were a sign of Barca's intentions to run, but Prokom double-teamed on defense to try to force Barcelona turnovers. When the hosts missed a couple of shots, Prokom went ahead on Atkins's three-point play and fastbreak, 6-9. Fran Vazquez fed Jordi Trias underneath for a three-point play of his own, but Prokom played without risks, taking advantage of every Barcelona mistake to rise to 9-17 after Donatas Slanina's three. Basile copied him to revive Barcelona, and soon Besok was called for his third foul in just 7 minutes, sending him to the bench. The run went up to 8-0 when Jaka Lakovic fed Vazquez to tie it at 17-17. At that point, the game entered a phase of confusion with turnovers on both sides until Vazquez broke Prokom's zone defense with a jumper for 19-17. The quarter ended with Navarro feeding Trias and Basile beating the buzzer with a triple that closed a 15-0 run that made it 24-17.
The run was broken by Dalmau's long jumper to start the second quarter, but Roko-Leni Ukic blasted a three to put things back in place. The hosts went on a run to 31-19 as Ukic added another basket. Prokom did what it could on offense, but Basile made back-to-back threes that fired the stands for a 37-21 score. Michael Andersen tried to lift Prokom by himself, but Barcelona was on a hot streak where everything turned out rosy for them. Vazquez slammed for 41-23 and the hosts' defense forced Prokom mistakes again and again, while on the other side Roger Grimau made it a 20-point game with a three. Atkins replied with a new three for Prokom and Andersen added two free throws to show that the guests were not dead that early. On the following play, Prokom's defense smothered the hosts forcing a 24-second violation. With one second to go in the quarter, there would be no more changes in the score, which showed a 45-29 at the break.
Dalmau blasted an open three to start the second half, but Kakiouzis's free throws and Vazquez's layup launched Barca again. Prokom seemed to play with more patience to start the third quarter, but the hosts had Lakovic with two straight threes making it 59-36. With no pressure at all, Barcelona made its shots, but also relaxed a little on defense, allowing for Prokom's easy baskets. However, trading baskets was good for the hosts as time went by. Prokom lacked the extra bite that would allow it to be back into the game, and when Vazquez dunked again, it was clear that things would have to change a lot for the guests to have any options. Atkins scored 5straight points, including a triple that closed the third period at 68-46 for the hosts.
Justin Hamilton opened the last period with his second basket of the night, but Basile was on fire from downtown, hitting his fifth bomb from downtown for a 73-48 Barcelona edge. Trias was now active under the basket, but Prokom replied to every bucket now, providing the crowd with a good offensive show. When Trias reached his 15th point without a miss, his best Euroleague offensive performance ever, the score was 77-57. Vazquez added a three-point play and that sparked a 7-0 run. Atkins and Besok got together to keep Prokom in the game combining for 6 straight points, but Barcelona replied with the entrance of youngster Albert Moncasi, who made his Euroleague debut, and he soon scored two points from the free-throw line. Grimau and Besok traded triples as the game entered the last minute with a clear 89-68 for Barcelona, who rolled into its first Top 16 win.
Thursday, February 15, 2007