Maccabi blasts back to down CSKA
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv stunned CSKA Moscow with a thrilling come-from-behind victory, 90-80, in a breathless showdown at Menora Mivtachim Arena. CSKA moved into a double-digit lead early in the second quarter and stayed in front until a 13-0 third-quarter run sent Maccabi back ahead. The hosts never trailed in the fourth quarter and scored the last 10 points of the game to seal the deal. It was a real team effort from Maccabi, with five players scoring in double-digits led by Scottie Wilbekin with 22 points and 9 assists, while former CSKA man Othello Hunter added 20 points and 7 rebounds. Elijah Bryant scored 14 points, Yovel Zoosman 13 and Quincy Acy 11. Mike James led CSKA’s scoring with 22 points, but only made 5 of 17 field-goal attempts. Kyle Hines added 14 points and Janis Strelnieks 10 in defeat. Maccabi climbed to 9-4 with a perfect home record, while the reigning champ dropped to 8-5.
Acy and Nikita Kurbanov both made three-pointers in the early going before a long two from Johannes Voigtmann and a triple from Strelnieks made it 9-12. Maccabi responded with triples from Acy and Bryant, but Hines hit back with a layup followed by a three-pointer from Ron Baker for a 17-19 scoreline. James came off the bench to convert 5 free throws on either side of a Zoosman three. A layup-and-one from Joel Bolomboy helped make it 20-29 at the end of the first. Semen Antonov’s mid-range jumper gave CSKA a double-digit lead and a pair of baskets from Bolomboy made it 23-35. Wilbekin and Jake Cohen kept Maccabi moving before Hunter scored twice from close-range and Bryant made a triple, but CSKA’s offense kept rolling through James's three-pointer. Bryant's transition layup and a Wilbekin triple sparked a 7-0 run, but Hines scored twice in a 0-6 response before Dorsey beat the halftime buzzer from long-range for a 45-52 interval score.
Daniel Hackett protected the lead from long range early in the third quarter and Strelnieks made it 49-60 from the corner. Three baskets from Hunter and a three-point play from Bryant pulled Maccabi back and Wilbekin’s mid-range strike and Zoosman’s transition layup completed a 13-0 run, sending Maccabi ahead at 62-60. Free throws from Strelnieks and a driving layup from Baker reignited CSKA, but Tyler Dorsey penetrated to score and Wilbekin’s free throws provided a 66-64 lead at the end of the third. Wilbekin and Acy then added three-pointers for a 10-0 run, but James answered from deep, from mid-range and from the foul line to pull his team back. Bryant’s three-pointer made it 77-71 and the scoring slowed as the two teams prepared for a big finish. A layup from Hines and a James triple tied the game at 80-80 with 2:30 left. Hunter’s tip-in sent Maccabi back in front and Zoosman’s free throws made it 84-80. A spin move and layup from Hunter extended the margin and CSKA could not fight back.
Defensive turnaround sparks Maccabi
CSKA’s offense rolled to 52 points in the first half, but a major defensive improvement after the break saw the visiting team held to just 28 points in the last two quarters. Crucially, CSKA was prevented from scoring at all inside the last 2:37 as Maccabi broke an 80-80 tie and netted all the remaining points.
Hunter back to haunt old team
Othello Hunter won the title with CSKA last season, but he was a major reason the champs lost this game. The Maccabi big man netted 20 points, the highest tally of his 175 game EuroLeague career, including two crucial baskets in the last couple of minutes when Maccabi broke clear to take the win.
Big runs fuel the victory
CSKA looked in control when Janis Strelnieks made a three-pointer for a 49-60 lead midway through the third quarter. But then Yovel Zoosman scored at the beginning and end of a 13-0 run, which also featured two scores from Hunter, to give Maccabi’s its first lead since the opening quarter. A 10-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters kept the momentum going before Maccabi’s third and most decisive run – the 10-0 in the last couple of minutes – sealed the outcome.
Visitors dominate battle of the boards
CSKA lost the game despite easily winning the rebounding battle, taking 37 against Maccabi’s 25. The visiting side particularly profited at the offensive end, grabbing 15 offensive boards while Maccabi took just 5. Johannes Voigtmann led the way with 7 total rebounds, followed by Nikita Kurbanov with 6.
Maccabi heads on the road to take on Zenit St. Petersburg in Round 14 next Tuesday, while CSKA returns home to welcome Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Wednesday.
Thursday, December 12, 2019