Regal Barcelona routed Maroussi 58-85
Regal Barcelona routed Maroussi 58-85 on Wednesday to punch its ticket through to the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Barcelona dominated on the defensive end, limiting Maroussi to just 3 points in the entire third quarter as it pulled away for a comfortable win. Barca improved to 4-1 in Group E and will host Partizan Belgrade next week looking to win the group and home-court advantage in the quarterfinals. Maroussi dropped to 2-2 and will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention if Partizan beats Panathinaikos in Thursday’s Group E showdown. The game was close through a quarter-and-a-half, with Maroussi holding a 31-33 lead before Barcelona took off. The visitors outscored Maroussi 5-28 from that point until the end of the third quarter to turn a promising contest into a no-contest. Head coach Xavi Pascual was able to rely on his reserves in the fourth quarter as Barcelona celebrated on the bench. Erazem Lorbek paced Barcelona with 14 points, Juan Carlos Navarro scored 13, Terence Morris tallied 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals, Jaka Lakovic netted 10 and Pete Mickeal posted 8 points and 10 boards for the winners. Billy Keys led Maroussi with 12 points and Kostas Kaimakoglou added 9 in defeat.
It was an ideal start for the visitors as Barcelona won the tip and Navarro ran a pick-and-pop with Morris, who drained a three-pointer. Navarro soon added a step-back three before Kaimakoglou put Maroussi on the board from the line. Keys scored twice from downtown – the second with Navarro in his face – to narrow the gap to 8-10. Mickeal played big inside and Ricky Rubio turned heads with a nifty fake on a fast break layup as Barca went back ahead by 6. Kaimakoglou shined at both ends of the floor to bring his team within 13-14. Morris stepped up with a slam and then forcing a steal from Kaimakoglou. Victor Sada fed Lorbek for a slam, but a Michalis Pelekanos triple kept the hosts close allowing Stevan Nadjfeji to tie the game at 18-18 with a three-pointer. Jared Homan’s baseline jumper gave Maroussi its first lead, 20-18, which held till the end of the quarter.
Baskets by Nadjfeji and Dimitrios Mavroeidis made it 24-18 before Sada fed a cutting Vazquez for a slam. The game grew physical as several players found themselves on the floor at times. A Navarro triple brought Barca within a shot, but Keys full-court pass to an open Mavroeidis made it 28-23. Navarro stayed hot, helping narrow the gap to 1 and Mickeal cut to the basket and dished to Vazquez for a slam and a 28-29 Barca lead. After a timeout, Pat Calathes attacked the basket, drew a foul and tied the game. The teams traded baskets for a few minutes, the highlight being an acrobatic basket-plus-foul scored by Navarro to make it 33-36. Lakovic scored from the line and Morris soared for a layup as Maroussi was held scoreless for nearly three minutes. Lucas ended the drought with an uncontested layup, but Rubio scored over Stephen Arigbabu to make it 35-42 at halftime.
It was all Barcelona early in the second half as baskets by Mickeal and Lorbek gave the visitors their first double-digit lead before Lorbek made it 35-48. Keys gave the locals hope with a triple, but Lorbek and Mickeal continued to extend their team’s cushion. Gianluca Basile’s triple took the Barcelona lead over 20 as the defense simply shut down the Maroussi attack. The hosts were held to just 3 points in the entire third quarter as Barcelona’s lead reached 38-59.
Marios Batis opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, but a Vazquez slam showed who was in control. The Barcelona lead continued to grow as Jordi Trias used his time on the court to shake off some rust. Triples from Keys and Pelekanos did little as Roger Grimau, Lakovic and Trias pushed the Barca cushion to 29. Lubos Barton made his first appearance of the season, coming back after a severe leg injury, to score in the closing minutes as the visitors grabbed the win and quarterfinals spot.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010