Navarro, Tomic lead Barcelona to fifth win
In an intense, physical showdown, FC Barcelona remained undefeated in Group C by beating Panathinaikos Athens 78-69 at home on Friday. Barcelona improved to 5-0 in Group C while Panathinaikos dropped to 3-2. Ante Tomic paced the winners with 16 points on 8-of-8 two-point shooting and 10 rebounds. Juan Carlos Navarro, Brad Oleson and Maciej Lampe each added 12 points for Barcelona. Esteban Batista led Panathinaikos with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Tomic had 10 first-quarter points, but Batista and Dimitris Diamantidis allowed Panathinaikos to stay tied at 18-18 after 10 minutes. An outstanding James Gist kept Panathinaikos as close as 34-33 but Justin Doellman had the opening 7 points in a 9-0 run that put Barcelona ahead, 47-38, at halftime. Back-to-back three-pointers by Marcelinho Huertas boosted the hosts' lead to 55-42. Panathinaikos got within 64-56 at the end of the third quarter and then within 67-62 with six minutes left but Navarro and Tomic stepped up in crunch time to lead Barcelona to another win.
First quarter: The Tomic vs. Batista show!
DeShaun Thomas got Barcelona going with a turnaround jumper, which Dimitris Diamantidis erased with a quick basket in transition. After Ante Tomic shined with a great move in the low post, Esteban Batista scored down low. A 'bomba' by Juan Carlos Navarro gave Barcelona a 6-4 lead. Tomic scored again and matched Batista's big basket with another layup. Diamantidis hit a mid-range jumper and a three-point play by Batista gave Panathinaikos its first lead, 10-11. Navarro fed Tomic for an easy basket, but an unstoppable Batista split free throws and a jumper by A.J. Slaughter put the Greens back ahead, 12-14. Tomic scored in the low post and free throws by Tomas Satoransky restored a 16-14 Barcelona edge. After Antonis Fotsis and Diamantidis made foul shots, Satoransky shined with a reverse layup. Janis Blums tied the game at 18-18 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Barcelona takes off
Brad Oleson ignited the crowd with an off-balance three-pointer - and the free throw that came with it. James Gist scored around the basket but Maciej Lampe answered with a mid-range jumper, good for a 24-20 Barcelona lead. Loukas Mavrokefalidis shined with a three-point play, Satoransky answered with a tip-in and an incredible off-balance layup by Gist kept the Greens within 26-25. Lampe kept pacing Barcelona with a put-back basket and a three-pointer but Gist singlehandedly kept Panathinaikos close, 31-30. Slaughter split free throws and Oleson struck from downtown for a 34-31 Barcelona edge. Gist stayed on fire with a tip-in but 7 unanswered points by Justin Doellman gave the hosts a 41-33 lead. Tomic capped a 9-0 run with a tip-in, Batista scored around the basket and a free throw by Alex Abrines made it a nine-point game, 44-35. Fotsis and Navarro traded triples to fix the halftime score at 47-38.
Third quarter: Barcelona keeps control
Vladimir Jankovic hit a jump hook immediately after the break, which Doellman matched with a layup. Panathinaikos kept powering the offensive boards, but shots did not fall in. Back-to-back three-pointers by Marcelinho Huertas boosted Barcelona's lead to 55-42. Diamantidis took over with a wild driving layup and Slaughter added a fast break basket for a 55-46 advantage. Tomic scored down low, but Pappas made free throws. A running hook by Lampe restored a double-digit Barcelona margin, 59-48. Pappas scored in penetration and Mavrokefalidis hit a shot, but Oleson stepped up with a jumper, which he followed with a technical free throw for a 62-52 Barcelona lead. Eleftherios Bochoridis scored off a steal, but Satoransky found Navarro for a three-pointer. A very active Mavrokefalidis scored again to keep the Greens within 64-56.
Fourth quarter: Hosts hold on despite Panathinaikos's rally
Both teams were scoreless for almost two minutes until Navarro struck from way downtown for a 67-56 Barcelona lead. Panathinaikos could not find the way to the basket until Diamantidis nailed his trademark step-back jumper. Jankovic split free throws to make it a 7-point game with over six minutes left. Abrines was ejected after his second technical foul and Pappas brought the Greens even closer, 67-62. Huertas took over with a running jumper, as Panathinaikos kept missing shots from downtown. A three-pointer by Lampe gave the hosts a 72-62 margin with three minutes left. Blums answered from downtown - Panathinaikos's second triple in 18 attempts - but free throws by Navarro and a layup by Tomic sealed the outcome, 76-65. Panathinaikos did not stop fighting, but Barcelona kept full control of the game until the final buzzer.
Friday, November 14, 2014