Barcelona hangs on in last home game
In a battle of two teams eliminated from playoff contention, FC Barcelona Lassa led from start to finish, but had to hold off a depleted Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 76-71 on Thursday night at Palau Blaugrana. With the win Barcelona improved its record to 12-17, while it dropped Maccabi to 10-19 with one game to go. Maccabi was without point guards D.J. Seeley and Yogev Ohayon, in addition to the usual absentees Andrew Goudelock and Quincy Miller. Ante Tomic paced Barcelona’s offense with 15 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, but despite the game never being tied after the tip off, Maccabi kept hanging around and made a charge in the final five minutes. However, Barcelona held on to victory in its final EuroLeague game in front of its fans. Petteri Koponen netted 14 points, while Brad Oleson and Aleksandar Vezenkov scored 13 apiece in victory. Gal Mekel had a game-high 18 points, Victor Rudd added 11, while Diamon Simpson amassed 10 points plus 12 rebounds in defeat.
Barcelona stormed out of the gate and scored on its first four possessions. Stratos Perperoglou hit a triple after only 13 seconds, and with Tomic in the main role and a three from Oleson, the hosts led 10-0. Devin Smith had a three-pointer to open Maccabi’s tally, and Rudd had a pair of baskets, including a big dunk, but Barcelona had 9 assists in the opening nine minutes, it hit its first four three-point attempts and led 23-13 after 10 minutes. The margin was extended to 29-17 after triples from Oleson and Vezenkov, but Maccabi replied with a three from Rudd and back-to-back shots from Nimrod Levi – his first two EuroLeague baskets – to get within 33-32. But Barcelona scored the last 7 points of the half, including Vezenkov’s triple in the waning seconds of the second quarter, and the hosts led 40-32 at halftime. After the break, Oleson and Tyrese
Rice hit threes for the hosts, but Mekel hit a pair from downtown for Maccabi and Mekel’s three-point play got the visitors within 50-45. Victor Claver answered with a three-point play, but a Sylven Landesberg triple in the dying moments of the third quarter made it 58-54 after 30 minutes. Oleson from long range and Tomic from close range restored a 9-point margin, and Vezenkov’s fastbreak dunk made it 67-54. But Simpson and Joe Alexander sparked another Maccabi run, as Alexander’s triple cut the deficit to 71-69. The visitors held Barcelona without a basket for the final 5:15 and had three possessions to take the lead or tie the game, but did not manage to score, before Oleson and Koponen sealed the deal from the free throw line.
Thursday, March 30, 2017