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Jeremy Pargo contributed to Tel Aviv's Euroleague win over FC Barcelona on Thursday night. PHOTO: EUROLEAGUE

FC Barcelona fell to Maccabi Tel Aviv 70-68 on Thursday night, unable to pick up their first road win in 2015. Barça had a chance to force overtime, after coughing up a late lead at the hands of an 11–0 Tel Aviv run, leading to their second Top 16 loss. Ante Tomic led the way for the Barça with 21 points, not enough to overcome the performances of Maccabi's Devin Smith, Jeremy Pargo and Sofoklis Schortsanitis.

Slow start

While the first five minutes was a showcase for a hot Tomic, Barça began to fade shortly after and Maccabi took full advantage, leading by 15-13 at the end of the first quarter and then extending their lead to 36-26 after Smith drained a pair of three-pointers minutes before the break.

Barça were ice cold from the field, although they made just enough shots from behind the arc to keep things close.

Staying close

After halftime, FC Barcelona's defense somehow managed to keep them within striking distance, even after a big Pargo three that put Tel Aviv up 43–38.  Marcelinho Huertas and Tibor Pleiss came in and the Israelis, despite having control of the game, looked surprised as a Justin Doellman basket brought Barça to within two within 43-41 after 27 minutes.

But with the third quarter coming to an end, Maccabi's Nate Linhart dropped a three at the buzzer. Barça was down by six points and had to resort to a fourth quarter comeback as their only path to victory.

Coming up just short

With Tomic at his best, and Boštjan Nachbar knocking down a trey, Barça finally got back on top and led by a point at 56-55 after 32 minutes. But Maccabi answered right back with an 11-0 run led by Smith and Pargo that put them up by 10 at 66-56 with just 5 minutes left to play.

The final minutes painfully reminded Barça that their earlier offensive struggles were making the difference. Mario Hezonja drilled a three followed by a dunk to make it 66-64 Tel Aviv with a minute left. Maciej Lampe had a chance to send the game to OT but was rejected by Smith, leaving the final score at 70-68.                   

MATCH STATS

Maccabi, 70
FCB, 68

Maccabi: Ohayon (6), Pargo (20), Smith (15), Randle (10), Schortsanitis (11) –starting five-; Haynez (1), Linhart (3), Tyus (0), Landesberg (0), Alexander (4).

FC Barcelona: Satoransky (2), Jackson (4), Thomas (3), Doellman (5), Pleiss (6) –starting five-; Hezonja (7), Abrines (8), Satoransky (2), Lampe (3), Nachbar (5), Tomic (21).


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