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03.04.2008 22:13

Basile maintains Barça's Euro dream (83-74)

Carles Cascante

Gianluca Basile was outstanding in Barcelona's crucial Euroleague win against Maccabi Elite in the Palau on Thursday evening when he scored 34 points to mark a memorable night for the home team.

After losing the opening match of the three-game series, Barça had to defeat the Israelis to stand any chance of reaching the Final Four in Madrid and they did that to ensure that next week's final meeting is the decider. The Blaugrana maintained their focus throughout against a visiting team that never gave up and push their opponents all the way through. Basile, 33, was simply unstoppable as he netted a huge tally to alleviate the fact that top scorer Jaka Lakovic failed to register any.

Even opening

GrimauVsMaccabi.JPGErsan Ilyasova started the ball rolling for the home team in what proved to be a very even opening to the game. Barça were strong in defence and did not allow Maccabi much room to maneouvre. Xavi Paschal started the evening with Lakovic, Basile, Acker, Ilyasova and Marconato as the initial five. The familiar sight of quick changes was soon in evidence though as Pepe Sánchez replaced Lakovic and Roger Grimau came on for Acker.

Barça pushed forward and went for baskets as free throws from Marconato and Acker pushed the hosts in the lead once more. Basile and then a reverse lay-up from Acker continued to see the scoreboard move upwards. At the end of the opening period there was only one point in the contest as Barça went in 23-22 ahead. But it was Basile, with nine points, and Casspi, with ten, who stood out and ensured that the game remained a gripping contest.

Ilyasova out of action

There was some bad news at the end of the end of the opening period as Pascahl was forced to take off Ilyasova who had damaged his knee in the eighth minute of the game and was forced to leave the court altogether. Jordi Trias, who did not play a single minute in the first game in Tel Aviv, was his replacement.

The two sides exchanged missed shots and turnovers in the opening moments of the second period, but Basile was only just starting to shine. The Italian ended the half with 14 points to his name. Maccabi had hit the buffers though as they went for two minutes without scoring and were forced to call a time out to regroup. The Blaugrana eased into a nine-point lead at 31-22, before the visitors sprang back into life with Morris scoring again under the basket. Sánchez supported Basile well as Barça continued to build on their advantage before the break.

Staying ahead

PepeVsMaccabi.JPGIn the third period, AXA FC Barcelona attempted to bring Kasun and Vázquez more and more into the game, but the night was all about Baile as he scored his highest tally yet in a Blaugrana shirt. His tally of six in 12 three-point shots, six in 12 two-points four out of five free shots was impressive. He also managed five rebounds, one assist and two turnovers. Maccabi did everything that they could to stop him, as coach Zvi Sherf put Halperim, then García and finally Casspi on to try and do something.

Early in the fourth quarter, Basile fed Vázquez for a baseline jumper that moved Barça into an eleven-point lead and ensured that maccabi now had to come out and try and chalk up some points. The Israelis did everything that they could but the hosts were in fine form at the back and with Basile running rampant at the other end, there was always going to be only one outcome. In the final moments Sharp did sink two triples for the visitors, but by then, Barça's lead was so commanding that they made no difference.

The third room, despite the good action of the Italian, to has put an end to one partial of tie to 21, thanks also to the good action of Bynum in punctual moments. The American base, author of 8 points upon arriving at the rest, has noted a vital triple for its to little less than one minutes that has left them 64-58 and with all a period beforehand. Already in the last room, with Basile doing of authentic machine gun, the Barça seemed that went of final form. That happened with the 67 to 58, a triple that supposed the 30è point of the Italian escort and still they reduced more than eight minutes. The Maccabi, but, like sun to pass with the large teams, did not want to sell so much early its skin and with the veteran one Sharp noting two almost consecutive triples, has finished to make up a scoreboard that has finished 83 to 74.
Basile maintains Barça's Euro dream (83-74)

Axa FC Barcelona (23+20+21+19): Lakovic (-), Basile (34), Acker (5), Ilyasova (2), Marconato (2) -starting five-, Kasun (8), Fran Vázquez (8), Pepe Sánchez (11), Grimau (11), Neal (2) and Trias (-).

Maccabi Tel Aviv (22+15+21+16): Cummings (-), Vujcic (9), Halperin (3), Morris (16), Casspi (18) -starting five-, Bynum (13), Batista (5), García (-), Burstein (-), Blumenthal (-), Eliyahu (4) and Sharp (6).

Referees: Brazauskas (LIT), Dozai (CRO) and Viator (FRA).

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