Barça have recorded a vital victory for securing second place in their Top 16 in the Euroleague. The win against current Euroleague champions Maccabi by 18 points gives them the advantage over a direct rival for the title. Barça’s success was based on an excellent first half performance in which their effectiveness from the free throw line was key.
Xavi Pascual’s side began strongly right from the tip off. Ante Tomic started as he meant to go on with an impressive opening spell in which he linked brilliantly with Doellman under the guidance of Satoransky. Maccabi were under pressure and at 16-8 down they were forced to call a first time-out. The blaugranes improved their perimeter shooting to go in at the end of the first quarter 26-16 up against the Israeli side.
The three pointer exhibition continued in the second quarter with almost every shot counting for the home side. Maccabi looked in trouble whenever Schortsanitis was not on court and were 15 points down at one point before pegging it back to 47-34 at half time. Barça went in at the break thanks to a 12 from 14 record from two point shots.
The team from Tel-Aviv staged a mini recovery at the start of the third quarter, scoring six unanswered points before Tomic, Navarro and Doellman combined to reassert the blaugranes’ dominance. A three pointer from ‘La Bomba’ helped restore the home side’s cushion and suffocate any hopes of a Maccabi comeback with Barça leading 59-44. The visitors became more aggressive and the presence of Schortsanitis helped them to reduce the deficit to just ten points at 72-62. Nevertheless, with Ante Tomic in commanding form, Xavi Pascual’s team were able to close the game out without too many problems to give them an impressive 89-71 win over one of the favourites for the Euroleague title.