Barcelona blew by Real Madrid 73-84
Regal FC Barcelona got closer to reach its 11th Euroleague Final Four by downing archrivals Real Madrid 73-84 in the Spanish capital in Game 3 of their best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoffs series on Tuesday. Barcelona leads the series 2-1 but Madrid hosts Game 4 at Palacio Vistalegre on Thursday at 19:00 CET. Juan Carlos Navarro led the winners with 24 points on 4-of-6 three-pointers. Pete Mickeal and Jaka Lakovic each added 13 for Barcelona. Ante Tomic led Real Madrid with 23 points on 11-of-13 two-pointers. Sergio Llull and Travis Hansen each added 11 while Pablo Prigioni had 10 for Madrid. Navarro, Terence Morris and Ricky Rubio struck from downtown in a 0-15 run that put Mickeal ahead for good, 7-19. Madrid kept struggling to score in the first half and an unstoppable Navarro allowed Barcelona to make it a 23-point game, 23-46, late in the second quarter. Tomic and Hansen brought Madrid within 31-46 at halftime. Madrid tried to change things after the break but Navarro and Lakovic helped Barcelona to keep a safe margin, 50-61, after 30 minutes. A layup by Llull got Madrid as close as 54-61 but Navarro and Mickeal stepped up in crunch time to lead Barcelona to a pivotal win.
Just as expected, both teams struggled to score in the early going until Tomic split free throws. Jorge Garbajosa soon downed a six-meter jumper against him for a 3-0 lead. Navarro scored in transition but a four-meter jumper by Tomic kept Madrid ahead, 5-2. Navarro hit a running jumper and Mickeal scored in the low post, as Madrid kept running its offense through an unstoppable Tomic. Navarro fed Morris for a one-handed dunk that gave Barcelona its first lead, 7-8. Navarro kept pacing Barcelona with a bomb from downtown - his first three-pointer in the series - that made Madrid call timeout at 7-11. Morris and Rubio joined the three-point shootout that forced coach Ettore Messina to stop the game again, 7-17. Barcelona dominated the game with outstanding defense, making Madrid go scoreless for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, Mickeal capped a 0-15 run with a six-meter jumper. Hansen rescued Madrid with a three-pointer and matched Fran Vazquez's jumper with free throws for a 12-21 score. Roger Grimau and Hansen traded free throws but a fallaway jumper by Vazquez made Barcelona restore a double-digit lead, 14-25, after 10 minutes.
Garbajosa nailed a three-pointer early in the second quarter but Lakovic quickly answered from downtown to keep Barcelona out of trouble, 17-28. Lakovic buried another triple off a timeout to make it a 14-point game, 17-31, as Madrid tried to play more up-tempo with Llull as point guard. Barcelona dominated the game tempo with outstanding defense and a layup-plus-foul by Boni Ndong broke the game open, 17-34. Madrid could not find the way to the basket and an jump hook by Ndong capped a 0-11 run. Hansen sank a mid-range jumper but Navarro bettered that with an eight-meter bomb that boosted the guests' lead to 19-39. Llull hit free throws but Ndong followed with a two-handed dunk with a six-meter jumper for a 21-43 Barcelona margin. Marko Jaric hit free throws but Navarro - who else? - bettered that with another long three-pointer. Tomic scored down low and Hansen added a baseline jumper, as Madrid improved its defense now. Tomic kept pacing Madrid with a five-meter jumper that made Barcelona call timeout at 29-46. Felipe Reyes downed a mid-range shot to cap an 8-0 run and bring Madrid even closer, 31-46, at halftime.
Erazem Lorbek sank free throws immediately after the break, as Barcelona readjusted its defense and did not allow open shots from the top of the key. Prigioni found his first points on foul shots and a fast break layup by Reyes gave Madrid some hope at 35-48. Barcelona had started to miss open shots and tried to improved its outside shooting with Lakovic and Navarro together on court. Tomic sank a jump hook but Navarro erased it with a five-meter jumper and fed Vazquez for an alleyoop dunk, good for a 37-52 Barcelona lead. Tomic scored again but he didn't find much help around. Madrid was its usual self in defense, now allowing close shots now. Jaric sank a mid-range jumper to bring Madrid within 41-52. Lakovic silenced the crowd with an open triple, as Madrid tried to play more aggressive once Barcelona entered the foul bonus. Jaric and Reyes hit free throws, as Mickeal returned to the bench with 4 fouls. Llull banked in a running jumper but free throws by Lakovic kept Barcelona way ahead, 46-59. Llull and Lorbek traded jumpers but a dunk by Tomic kept Madrid within 50-61 at the end of the third quarter.
Tomic sank a jump hook and Llull added a wild driving layup to bring Madrid within single digits, 54-61, early in the fourth quarter. Morris stepped up with a big three-pointer but Prigioni fed Tomic for an uncontested dunk that got the crowd involved at 56-64. Mickeal nailed a turnaround jumper, as Barcelona improved its defense right when it mattered. Barcelona had started to use long possessions to run the game clock down and free throws by Mickeal boosted the guests' lead to 56-68 with 6 minutes left. Navarro sank an off-balance jumper that Llull improved with 3-of-3 free throws. Prigioni soon bettered Rubio's reverse layup with a tripe that got the hosts within 62-72. Madrid needed good defense to return to the game but Barcelona kept following its game plan, using long possessions and trying to get Mickeal and Navarro involved. Both players sank free throws to seal the outcome, 62-76, with under 4 minutes left. Madrid kept trying but the guests stayed focused and did not have much trouble to seal a convincing, decisive road win.
Monday, March 29, 2010