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Barça Lassa emerged victorious against Maccabi Tel Aviv in one of the most intimidating grounds in the Euroleague (69-79). Rice, Koponen and Dorsey led the scoring for the visitors and helped give the Catalans their third victory in the competition ahead of a testing run of fixtures.
After the win against Brose Bamberg at the Palau in the last Euroleague fixture, the blaugranas wanted to make it two in a row in the European competition. The intensity of the fixture list gives Barça no room to breathe and threw them straight into a hostile environment against the team that came second in Europe's premier competition last year. The home side started quickly racing into a 7-0 lead before Barça got themselves in the game and led 18-20 by the 10th minute.
However, Maccabi recovered at the start of the second quarter with Andrew Goudelock and Malik Zirbes causing problems for the Catalan team. Bartzokas' men were resilient and played with lots of belief. A trio of three pointers, two from Rice, gave Barça the chance to regain their advantage with a strong period in the game giving them a 34-40 lead at half time.
Rice and Koponen, key figures
The Israelis and the Catalans traded blows at the start of the second half with Devin Smith and Goudelock attempting to get the team from Tel Aviv back in the game. At this moment, Koponen halted any Barça slip with a three pointer and two free throws. The Finn silenced the Menora Mivtachim Arena and gave the visitors their seven point lead back in the 27th minute with the scores at 43-50.
The start of the final quarter was spectacular. Bartzokas' team started excellently and managed to open up a 17 point advantage by the 34th minute. The Catalans were dominating and the game seemed like it was over, however, that is never the case in basketball. The European heavyweights cut the distance and came to withing six points with the score at 69-75 one minute from time. Barça didn't succumb to the pressure and held out to secure a victory at one of Europe's toughest venues giving them optimism for their upcoming fixtures.
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