Barcelona takes 1-0 lead with OT win


FC Barcelona Regal took a 1-0 lead over Panathinaikos Athens in their best-of-five playoff series in the quarterfinals of the Euroleague. It was an intense and tightly contested game that required an extra quarter of action in order to get a final resolution of 72-70 in favor of Barcelona.

Perennial Euroleague competitor, Panathinaikos drew first blood via an aggressive 14-0 run in the first quarter. Barcelona, the 2011-12 Euroleauge defending champions were not to be outdone and answered back with a rally of their own to take the lead, riding on the efforts of Nathan Jawai and sparked by a long-bomb by Juan Carlos Navarro at the start of the quarter.

After the half, the game showed that this first playoff game between two juggernauts and both former champions, would turn into an exciting tug-of-war event. Panathinaikos built momentum via solid back-to-back short-range jumpers by Stephane Lasme to kick off the third quarter. Sarunas Jasikevicius kept Barcelona in it, but Lasme’s offense allowed the Greens to finish the third quarter with 51-45 lead.

James Gist’s defense via a block over Ante Tomic in the dying seconds of the game forced it into overtime after both teams traded triples for most of the quarter until they were tied at 60-60 with just under five minutes left in the game. In the end, Barcelona was able to edge out Panathinaikos via a three-point shot by Navarro with two minutes left in overtime.

If this Game 1 of their series is an indicator of things to come, basketball fans are in for an epic battle by both teams as they claw their way to advance in the Euroleague playoffs.

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