In a speedy game played in Sopot, Poland, Winterthur FC Barcelona scored a solid 59-77 road win over Prokom Trefl on Thursday evening and clinched a spot for the Quarterfinal Playoffs. The visitors had a strong shooting night, particularly in the first half, to build and early lead and hold on for good. Prokom tried hard to get back and threatened a few times, cutting the gap to 28-30 during the second period, but Jaka Lakovic first and Michalis Kakiouzis later soon boosted Barca ahead again for good. The win lifts Barcelona to a 3-1 record in Group F, while Prokom drops to 1-3. Barca joins Panathinaikos as a qualifier for the third round in this group. Kakiouzis led the winners with 13 points – 11 of them in the second half. Lakovic added 12 with 4-of-8 three-point shooting and Juan Carlos Navarro posted 10 with 5 assists. For the hosts, Donatas Slanina had 16 points, Rashid Atkins added 13 and Jasmin Hukic chipped in 11.
The game started rather slow offensively as the score was 2-4 after three minutes. When Atkins and Lakovic traded triples things got moving for real, and Navarro's jumper made it 7-11. Atkins blasted his second three in a row to keep it close, and Jordi Trias and Hukic powered inside for both sides to keep the scoring healthy. Winterthur kept the lead at all times, even though it never managed to build strong leads as Hukic blasted another three to put Prokom ahead at 17-16. Prokom's scoring run took it to 21-16 when Slanina's layup caused Barcelona to take a timeout. The move worked, as the visitors reeled off 8 unanswered points – including triples by Navarro and Lakovic – to seal the first period with a 21-24 Barca edge.
Defenses took over again at the start of the second period, until Filip Dylewicz broke the silence with a bucket. Rodrigo De la Fuente, who had just stepped in, hit Barcelona's fifth triple from the left wing and Lakovic followed by blasting Barca's sixth of 9 attempts from downtown to make it 23-30. An unsportsmanlike foul called on Roger Grimau sent Christina Dalmau to the charity line and together with Huseyin Besok's dunk, the hosts remained close. Barcelona looked inside again finding Trias and Fran Vazquez for quick points and De la Fuente joined the party with a mid-range jumper that allowed the guests to pull away to 28-36. The lead finally reached the double digits on a Vazquez slam. Dylewicz stopped the bleeding for Prokom, but Vazquez threw down another dunk to restore the big lead. Barca's offensive accuracy was becoming a huge obstacle for Prokom, which was also behind in the rebounding battle. Grimau appeared with another triple for Barcelona before Slanina provided points from the line for Prokom. Kakiouzis closed the second period with a 32-45 edge for Barcelona.
The second half started with a stronger Prokom, which used triples by Atkins and Hukic to draw within 38-47. Just like the first half, the defenses picked up the pace and almost two minutes went by until Hukic again had a three-point play. However, the man for Barcelona this time was Kakiouzis, who stepped up with 5 straight points including a three-point play of his own to help the visitors pull away to 43-52. Barcelona extended the spurt to 1-9 through Roko-Leni Ukic. With Prokom against the wall, Slanina tried to launch his team again with a three and Atkins did the same ti make it a 6-point game. A flurry of missed shots saw the last minute of the quarter tick away until Ukic made a free throw that closed the third period at 52-59.
To start the last period, Gianluca Basile hit a three and Kakiouzis added a basket to launch Barcelona again to a comfortable cushion. Tomas Masiulis was the shy protagonist of Prokom's reply, but Navarro's three and Basile's jumper shut that down as the score soared to 54-69 with 5 minutes to go. The team play of Barcelona was shining now, as the team looked for options both inside and outside, while Prokom was simply quiet. Slanina had something to say again with his second three, but Kakiouzis stepped up again with 4 straight points that broke the game open. Dalmau's layup finalized the score at 59-77 as Barcelona celebrated a key road win.
Thursday, March 8, 2007