The match between Barça Regal and Maccabi Electra, which was the last game of the Top 16, was inconsequential for both teams. Both sides are first and second, respectively, in Group H and no result would have changed that tonight. However, neither side wanted to lose at the Palau this evening. The Azulgranas, without Navarro, reserved because of niggling foot problems, looked for the win and they found it thanks to a fantastic second half. Thus, the Catalan team closes out the group stage with a perfect record: six victories out of six games. Unics Kazan awaits in the Euroleague quarterfinals.
Even though Maccabi started without Mallet, their usual starting point guard, they went on a 0-6 run. It took Barça Regal two minutes and a half to score their first basket, but, from that point on they would dominate the lead (8-0 run). An omnipresent Pete Mickeal was the indisputable leader in Barça’s reaction after the slow start (9 points in the first 7 minutes, 15-10). Both teams were taking the game seriously and they were offering up offensive and attractive play. The first quarter finished with 19-21 thanks to a fantastic three-pointer from Hendrix in the dying seconds.
The defence hardened and intensified in the second quarter. Three three-pointers from Rabaseda, Ingla and Marcelinho gave the lead back to Barça. Maccabi wasn’t finding comfortable shooting positions thanks to an immense Ndong; forcing them to call timeout (28-23, min 14). The interruption broke Barça’s flow and the Israelis were able to mount a comeback (30-31, min 28). Hendrix, with 21 points and 6 rebounds, was the star of the first half. At the half, Barça led by a single point (34-33).
Perovic makes room for Pérez
The giant Schortsanitis was well covered by the Barça forwards, especially by Perovic, who was fantastic in the second quarter. Perovic also led his team to the first big lead of the night (40-33). Maccabi, on the other hand, didn’t score in the first three minutes. With the situation under control, the young José Pérez jumped onto the court. The game was free flowing and there were very few fouls. Barça was on a roll and they led 51-44 after 30 minutes.
It looked as though the game was over at the start of the last quarter, but a 3-11 run from Maccabi got them right back in the thick of it. They wanted to close out their Top 16 on a high note. After a 3+1 for Maccabi, the Palau came alive; spurring their team to victory. A three-pointer from Marcelinho and a 2+1 from Hendrix gave the match a tinge of excitement with two minutes left on the clock (67-65). In the last second Barça Real, thanks to Pete Mickeal, sunk a three-pointer. Maccabi could have forced overtime but their last shot of the match bounced off the rim.