Barcelona rallied past Lottomatica Roma 65-74
Regal FC Barcelona survived a tough situation on Thursday night by surviving Lottomatica in Roma 65-74, and in the process accomplished two things: staying undefeated in the Top 16 Group F, and advancing to the Quarterfinal Playoffs together with Maccabi Electra, a winner over Union Olimpija also on Thursday. Lottomatica Roma scored six three-pointers in the third period and managed to build a 13-point lead, 43-30. But everything changed in the last period. Led by Ricky Rubio, Barca stepped up in defense and as such, offense started to work as well to the point of completing the comeback and winning the game in the last two minutes. The win puts Barca on top of the standings with a 4-0 record to advance to the Playoffs with Maccabi (3-1), while Lottomatica Roma remains winless at 0-4 and says goodbye to all its options this season, as does Union Olimpija. Juan Carlos Navarro led the winners with 19 points and Alan Anderson added 15. For Roma, Luigi Datome scored 15 points, 11 of them in the third quarter, Nemanja Gordic had 12 and Vladimir Dasic helped with 10.
Alan Anderson continued with his good moment by starting the scoring race for Regal FC Barcelona, but Andrea Crosariol found a move in the paint to tie the
game for Lottomatica Roma. The guests seemed to warm up faster in offense with easy baskets by Kosta Perovic and Juan Carlos Navarro, while Roma had problems
due to the Barca defense until Vladimir Dasic had a fastbreak. However, Anderson was still on fire with a new basket for the 4-8. The hosts started to pick
up the rhythm now, and despite Ricky Rubio's alley-oop for Boni Ndong, a monster dunk by Crosariol and a three by Charles Smith from the corner, allowed Roma
to trim the deficit until Darius Washington completed a 7-2 run for an 11-10 Roma lead. There was still some time for Nemanja Gordic to blast a three on the
shot clock buzzer, but Jaka Lakovic hit free throws to put an end to the first quarter with a 14-14 tie.
A pair of dunks, one for each side, were the first baskets. The problem for Barcelona was that its basket arrived almost three minutes into the quarter. Roma
was trying to run and found better ball circulation while the guests kept collecting turnovers. On top of everything, Lottomatica was controlling the
offensive rebound as Dasic put back a miss, and it had to be Lakovic who hit five straight points to put Barca back ahead by 20-21. That was the only good
news for the defending champs because a new 5-0 capped by Smith after a cut and layup made it 25-21. The guests called a timeout to try to fix the situation,
but Roma switched to a zone defense and provoked a new Barca turnover. When Gigli scored his jumper from the corner, Lottomatica had its highest lead at that
point with a 27-21. It was just a matter of time that Barcelona reacted, and Anderson and Ndong built a 0-4 for 27-25 in the last minute. There was time for
two plays, but Roma missed twice, including a new offensive rebound, to leave things at that during the halftime break.
The stage didn't change much in the second half. Roma started with Luigi Datome's back-to-back triples, while keeping Barca scoreless with good defense to
force the turnovers. The guests already called a timeout after two minutes, but that didn't solve anything. Roma started to improve its percentage from the
arc as Nihad Djedovic blasted one for the double-digit lead, 40-30, and Gordic poured more salt in the wound of the champ with a new three for the 43-30 and
the 16-5 run. Rubio stopped the bleeding with his own three as the offensive actions of the guests were arriving drop by drop. The next drop came fast
however as Navarro hit also another three to make it now a 0-6 run. Datome kept adding to his good quarter and Gordic nailed Roma's fifth three in the
quarter of six attempts to stop any hint of recovery of Barcelona. It was here that Rubio tried to take control of the situation trying to run the offense of
his team and also hitting free throws was the score went to 48-41 with Navarro's jumper from the corner. In the last two minutes of the quarter Barca tried a
zone, but Datome kept the party going with a new three that found a quick reply by Ndong in the paint and then Erazem Lorbek blasted his own three to trim it
down to 51-46 as the third quarter came to an end.
With the start of the last period arrived the metamorphosis of the guests. A basket by Lorbek after his offensive rebound also sparked the defense of Barcelona. It took Roma three full minutes to score thanks to Darius Washington's free throws. But Rubio provided defensive effort that the team copied, and Navarro hit a three to put Barca at two points, 53-51. Roma tried to keep the pace that had worked so well until that moment, but the ball didn't go in now while the guests controlled the defensive rebounds. The crowd started to put pressure on the game but Anderson didn't seem to notice as he tied the game with a turnaround jumper for 53-53 and five minutes to go. Lottomatica was really struggling in offense now as the shot clock expired for the second time in the quarter, and on the other side, luck fell for the champs as Dasic put the ball in his own basket to allow Barca to lead again, 53-55. Datome didn't want all his team's work to go down the drain and scored four straight points, but the main problem of Roma had a name: Ricky Rubio. Pulling rebounds, stealing balls and passing the ball, the young star fed Anderson for a slam and 57-60. Crosariol tried to keep the pace from the line, but Perovic's three-point play made it a 7-point game with less than 2 minutes to go, 58-65. Xavi Pascual kept doing the handball changes having Navarro in offense and Victor Sada in defense, and when Anderson blasted the three for the 7-22 run in the last period it really looked like Barcelona had been waiting for the last quarter to win the game, 58-68. Gordic had some time to blast a new three, but free throws by Navarro kept the defending champs in a safe place to advance to the Quartefinal Playoffs as Maccabi Electra also won against Union Olimpija.
Thursday, February 17, 2011