| Real Madrid took the Euroleague Top 16 version of the Spanish superclassic by edging archrivals Regal FC Barcelona 85-83 in front of 12,500 fans at Palacio Vistalegre in the Spanish capital on Wednesday. Madrid was the first team to record a win in Top 16 Group F, as Maccabi Electra hosts Alba Berlin tomorrow. Madrid faces Alba in Berlin next week while Regal FCB welcomes Maccabi. Louis Bullock and Sergio Llull led the winners each with 18 points. Felipe Reyes added 15 for Madrid. Juan Carlos Navarro had 21 points for Barcelona while Fran Vazquez added 16 for the guests. Daniel Santiago and Navarro fueled a 3-15 run that helped Barcelona to quick an early 12-point lead, 5-17. Madrid got within 19-26 after 10 minutes and even closer, 38-41, near halftime. Navarro and Vazquez allowed Barcelona to keep a 40-45 edge at halftime. A fast break layup by Lakovic boosted the guests' lead to 62-72 with 8 minutes to go. Madrid found a go-to guy in Llull, that ignited a 9-0 run that brought Madrid back in the game and soon added the go-ahead three-pointer for a 81-78 margin with 1:13 remaining. Free throws by Bullock and a couple of tactical fouls sealed the outcome.
Regal FCB opted for a lightning quick starting five with Lakovic, Navarro and Gianluca Basile together on court. Lakovic got the guests going with free throws that Reyes matched with a mid-range jumper. Santiago shined with a followup layup, as Barcelona excelled in defense now. Meanwhile, a running 'bomba' by Navarro and a tip-in by Santiago gave their team a 2-8 margin. Bullock rescued Madrid with one from downtown but free throws by Ersan Ilyasova and another 'bomba' by Navarro made the hosts call timeout at 5-12. Basile nailed a triple while a dominant Santiago dunked it to cap a 0-9 Barcelona run. Jeremiah Massey tried to change things with a tip-in that Bullock followed with a driving layup for a 9-17 Madrid deficit. Lubos Barton and David Andersen silenced the crowd with consecutive triples but Axel Hervelle answered from downtown to keep the hosts within 14-23. Tomas Van den Spiegel dunked it but a free throw by Navarro and a wild put-back slam by Vazquez made it a double-digit game, 16-26. Alex Mumbru nailed a seven-meter, buzzer-beating bomb to get Madrid within 19-26 after 10 minutes.
Roger Grimau stepped up with a layup right at the start of the second quarter but Hervelle and Marko Tomas immediately answered with free throws. Madrid had improved its aggressivity, especially in offense. Grimau kept pacing Barcelona with foul shots that Tomas bettered with a three-point play to bring Madrid back to life, 26-30. Vazquez shined with a jump hook while Raul Lopez and Andersen traded free throws for a 28-34 score. Lopez provided a highlight with a wild turnaround jumper but Navarro answered from downtown to restore a six-point Barcelona lead, 30-36. Bullock took over with a second-chance layup as Barcelona kept dominating the offensive board. Navarro hit another triple that Barton followed with a fast break basket to make Madrid stop the game at 32-41. Reyes scored in the paint and soon added free throws in a 6-0 run that Lopez capped with a fast break layup. Navarro made free throws off a Barcelona timeout that Bullock answered in the same way for a 40-43 Madrid deficit. Vazquez scored down low to fix the halftime score at 40-45.
Lopez scored in penetration right after the break but Navarro matched that with free throws. Madrid managed to get Reyes involved but Vazquez provided a highlight with an incredible alleyoop dunk. Vazquez slammed it again but a big basket by Mumbru gave the hosts some fresh air at 46-51. Vazquez kept pacing Barcelona with an alleyoop layup while free throws by Victor Sada made it a nine-point game, 46-55. Madrid tried to attack the basket and Llull shined with a coast-to-coast layup to get the crowd involved. Reyes took over with a three-point play while a dunk by Quinton Hosley made Barcelona call timeout at 53-55. Andersen and Grimau sank free throws, as Barcelona tried to slow down the game tempo. Madrid asked for a timeout and both teams switched to respective 2-3 zone defenses. Llull scored again in transition but Basile improved that with a three-pointer, good for a 55-61 Barcelona edge. Llull took over with another driving basket and Massey added a layup to get the hosts within 59-61. Lakovic nailed a triple to fix the score at 59-64 after three quarters,
Ilyasova sank one from downtown early in the fourth period but a long two-pointer by Bullock kept Madrid within 61-67. Navarro joined the three-point shootout while a fast break layup by Lakovic made the guests restore a double-digit lead, 62-72. Llull followed a three-pointer with a fast break dunk while Massey added a breakaway slam for a 69-72 Madrid deficit with 6 minutes to go. Reyes scored in the low post off a Barcelona timeout to cap a 9-0 run. Vazquez nailed a baseline jumper that Reyes erased with a power layup. Navarro and Bullock traded free throws while Basile shined with his trademark reverse layup for a 75-78 Barcelona edge with 2 minutes remaining. Bullock tied the game with a three-pointer off the dribble and Llull also struck from downtown to complete the hosts' comeback, 81-78, with 1:13 to go. Vazquez hit a fallaway jumper that Llull erased with free throws for a 83-80 score with 17 seconds to go. Navarro and Bullock exchanged free throws and Madrid opted to foul on Basile with 2.4 seconds remaining. He made the first, missed the second on purpose but Andersen stepped into the paint before the shot, allowing 12,500 fans at Palacio Vistalegre to celebrate a major Top 16 win!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009