Abrines explodes for a FC Barcelona Regal win
In a thrilling game to the final buzzer FC Barcelona Regal defeated Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv on Thursday night, 74-71, in Group F. Barcelona was already group champ before the game. Maccabi qualifies for the playoffs third, as its loss combines with the Olympiacos win put the Reds up for second place. Maccabi had its chances until the start of the last quarter but then, a young star that waited patiently all season, finally exploded. Alejandro Abrines had a career-best performance as he soared for 21 points, 12 in the final period, and 3 rebounds to lead Barca to the final win. Ante Tomic added 13 points and Juan Carlos Navarro, who could not finish the game due to a slight foot injury, had 12. For Maccabi, Ricky Hickman and Devin Smith had 16 points apiece, David Logan added 11 and Shawn James hit 10.
Maccabi starts strong, Barca recovers
Maccabi Electra took the initiative in the scoreboard during the first minutes with Shawn James as protagonist, as he soon scored his sixth point for 5-12.
However, the hosts regrouped soon as Erazem Lorbek, Juan Carlos Navarro and Marcelinho Huertas hit eight unanswered points to put Barcelona ahead, 13-12. The
following minutes featured an exchange of baskets including a three-point play by Nik Caner-Medley that made it 19-19 after 10 minutes.
Hosts start pulling away
Abrines and Logan opened the second quarter trading threes, and then Abrines hit a new bucket as the score progressed with no breaks. Logan again and then
Jawai hit for both sides, but Barcelona was keeping lead when Victor Sada fed Abrines for a monster alley-oop that made it 30-24. Sada then hit a bucket by
himself to enlarge the difference even more, but then bwin March MVP Devin Smith took matters into his own hands penetrating in traffic for a nifty bucket
and then Ricky Hickman decided that was the best option also and copied him to make it 32-28. The hosts were showing impressive numbers in 2-point shooting
with 7 of 7 in the quarter when Navarro hit a layup for 36-32, while Maccabi was stuck at 1 of 8 from the arc. The score would not move in the last minute of
the half as the teams hit the lockerrooms for the break.
Maccabi revives through Hickman
Things looked bright for Maccabi at the start of the second half. After Navarro's three, Yogev Ohayon replied in the same manner and then Hickman hit six point in a row by himself, including four in an unsportsmanlike foul situation by Huertas, to give his team the lead again, 39-41. Ante Tomic revived the hosts by finishing an alley-oop from Huertas, but then was called a technical foul that allowed Hickman to score his seventh point in the quarter to keep Maccabi aehad, 44-48 after Smith's three. Like a speed demon, James stole the ball fast and fed Logan for a layup that made it a 0-6 run for the guests. In the following plays, Barcelona tried to catch up but Maccabi succeeded in keeping the 6-point lead, until free throws by Abrines made it 51-54. However, Guy Pnini had free throws in the last possession to leave it at 51-56 after 30 minutes.
A new star is born: Abrines
Jawai had a putback for Barca to start the last period, but Hickman was back to the line to get Maccabi going again. A great defensive effort of Maccabi was shattered by Abrines and his huge three on the shot-clock that set the stands on fire to make it 56-57. Abrines was on fire and hit two more free throws to put the hosts ahead, 58-57. Abrines still blasted a new three but Logan and Smith teamed up for five straight Maccabi points that gave them a new lead, 61-62. In the meantime, Abrines was everywhere and added two more free throws to his column, making it 10 points for him in the quarter. Smith was also dominating in offense for Maccabi as the game's excitement escalated. With less than 3 minutes left, Joe Ingles and Nik Caner-Medley traded threes, and with a 70-67, the game entered the last 2 minutes. With Ingles playing point, he organized the play and fed Tomic for an easy layup making it 72-67 forcing Maccabi's timeout. Barcelona let the clock run, but Hickman still had time for a trip to the line. He hit the two attempts making it 72-71 with 8 seconds to go. It was then Sarunas Jasikevicius turn on the line to hit both attempts for 73-71 and 6 seconds to go. In the last play, Smith turned the ball over and gave the win to the hosts.
Thursday, April 4, 2013