In a battle of the Group B titans, Kinder Bologna defeated Barcelona 69-85 on Thursday. What looked like an even contest for the first half went to the visiting Euroleague champions once they put their minds to the matter. Emanuel Ginobili - who else? - broke the game open for good midway through the fourth quarter, after Barcelona had pulled within five. First he knifed down the lane for a dunk off a flip pass from Rashard Griffith. Then he stepped outside and let his left-handed three-point shot fly. As it rattled in, Kinder's lead was safe at 10 points with 4 minutes to play. Ginobili finsihed with 20 points and Griffith 16 to lead Kinder. Antoine Rigaudeau added 14 and Sani Becirovic 12. For Barcelona, Arturas Karnisovas had 18 points and Ademola Okulaja 10. Kinder is now 2-0 and Barcelona 1-1.
Barcelona started the game very focused, while Kinder coach Ettore Messina made continuous lineup changes, starting only 78 seconds into the game, when Matjaz Smodis sat with his second foul. Kinder was in foul trouble early, but took its first lead at 6-7 with Griffith's first basket. Just about then, starting guard Marko Jaric left the court with what would turn out to be a dislocated clavicle. He tried to return quickly but could not, and sat the rest of the game. After Jaric walked off, it was time for the long distance shooters. A string of Barcelona threes by Sarunas Jasikevicius, Rodrigo De la Fuente and Efthimios Rentzias was only interrupted by one for Kinder, by Ginobili, as the home team went up 20-17. Barcelona got its biggest lead one minute before the end of the first quarter, 25-17, and finished at 25-19, with 8 points from already from Jasikevicius.
Barcelona coach Aito García Reneses used his depth, too, putting three new players on the floor for the second quarter - Juan Carlos Navarro, Nikos Ekonomu and Roberto Dueñas - but the key man was a starter, Karnisovas, with 12 points in this period and only one miss, giving his team a 41-35 edge. The Kinder shooters were to have their say, too, with Becirovic and Rigadeau again: 43-43. In the last minute before the half, Griffith missed two free throws and Anderson another pair, leaving the score unchanged at halftime 43-43.
In the third quarter, Kinder regained the lead at 46-50 as Barcelona got in foul trouble. After a timeout called by Barcelona, David Andersen gave Kinder its biggest lead 46-52 with a long shot. Barcelona found its answer this time in Okulaja, who scored scored 5 points: to bring the hosts back to 51-52 midway through the quarter. Rentzias put Barça in front again 55-54 with a three-point play. Ginobil answered with a dunk, but was called for his fourth personal foul, though De la Fuente missed both free throws. At the end of this quarter Kinder was 3 points up (59-62).
The last quarter began with a dunk from Griffith (59-64) and the fourth foul from Karnisovas resulting in a free throw by Alessandro Abbio: 59-65. A three-pointer from Ekonomu was the only basket for Barcelona in its first seven attemps, but a three from Becirovic gave Kinder its biggest lead: 62-70. Jasikevicius replied the same way (65-70). Dueñas missed two free throws and a three from Ginobili gave Kinder a 10-point lead (67-77) with 4 minutes and a half to go. The game was definitely decided when Ekonomu missed a three and Okulaja a layup after an Andersen basket. Then a three-point shot from Smodis made it 67-82 with only two minutes to go.
Thursday, October 18, 2001