Maccabi Electra outlasted Real Madrid 81-76
Maccabi Electra registered its first win of the Top 16 and turned Group F into the most balanced one this far by downing Real Madrid 81-76 in front of 11,500 fans in a sold-out Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday night. All four teams in Group F - Maccabi, Madrid, Efes Pilsen and Montepaschi Siena - are tied at 1-1, so anything can happen. Alan Anderson led the winners with 20 points, making 9 free throws without a miss plus 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Chuck Eidson added 18 points and D'or Fischer had 14 for Maccabi. Rimantas Kaukenas led Madrid with 17 points. Darjus Lavrinovic added 13 and Jorge Garbajosa had 12 for the guests. Maccabi overcame a slow start as a put-back basket by Fischer and a fast break dunk by David Bluthenthal tied the game, 18-18, after 10 minutes. Maccabi did not trail after that and found a go-to guy in Stephane Lasme, who led his team in defense and got some help from Eidson to give his team a 41-34 halftime edge. Anderson led a 10-0 run that boosted the hosts' lead to 59-47 late in the third quarter. Kaukenas and a three-pointer by Marko Jaric brought Madrid within 78-74 with a minute to go but Doron Perkins answered from downtown to seal a well-deserved win.
Madrid head coach Ettore Messina tried to open the court early with Lavrinovic and Novica Velickovic in his starting lineup to try to take Fischer out of the paint. Jaric got the guests going with a free throw and Kaukenas added a driving layup for a 0-3 lead. Maccabi struggled to get Anderson and Eidson involved. Velickovic scored in transition but Fischer stepped up with a baseline jumper. Pablo Prigioni quickly answered from downtown but a driving layup bu Guy Pnini got Maccabi within 4-8. Fischer kept pacing Maccabi with a layup but Lavrinovic matched it with a four-meter jumper, as the guests kept trying to open the floor to find one-on-one options for Kaukenas and Jaric. Eidson made free throws, but Jaric beat the buzzer with one from downtown. Eidson provided a highlight with a wild off-balance layup and a driving basket by Anderson soon tied it at 13-13. Ante Tomic took over with a jump hook and Garbajosa added a seven-meter bomb to give Madrid some fresh air at 13-18. Fischer shined with a put-back basket, Eidson split free throws and Bluthenthal added a breakaway dunk to send the crowd to their feet, 18-18, after 10 minutes.
A three-point play by Lasme gave Maccabi its first lead of the night, 21-18, early in the second quarter. Lavrinovic silenced the crowd with a dunk but Anderson quickly answered from downtown for a 24-20 Maccabi margin. Anderson stayed on fire and scored off a wild spin move in the low post but a power layup by Velickovic kept Madrid within 26-22. Madrid tried to improve its defense and overall intensity with Prigioni and Sergio Llull together on court but Maccabi also used twin point guard - Andrew Wisniewski and Perkins - for outstanding ball circulation. Bluthenthal struck from downtown but Llull followed a three-pointer with a layup off a steal for a 30-27 Madrid deficit. Eidson downed a triple, as Maccabi kept finding open shots. Ante Tomic scored down low but Maccabi kept running its offense through Lasme for a 36-30 lead. Perkins got the crowd involed with a high-flying backdoor layup that Velickovic matched with an easy basket. Madrid kept missing open shots against the hosts' 2-3 zone defense and Lasme had a big block on Velickovic. Free throws by Garbajosa and a buzzer-beating layup by Bluthenthal fixed the halftime score at 41-34.
Kaukenas took over with an off-balance three-point play immediately after the break. Fischer shined with an alleyoop dunk that a red hot Kaukenas matched with free throws. Madrid went back to its original game plan, placing Velickovic and Lavrinovic away from the paint to find more space in offense. Kaukenas scored again to bring the guests as close as 43-41. Wisniewski stepped up with a floating jumper but foul shots by Lavrinovic kept Madrid within 45-43. Anderson shined with a driving layup, as Maccabi had started to play more physical at both end. Kaukenas kept pacing Madrid with a fast break dunk but Anderson sank 4-of-4 free throws to keep the hosts ahead, 51-47. Maccabi was all over the place in defense now and coach Messina called timeout to adjust the guests' offense. More foul shots by Yaniv Green and Bluthenthal soon made it a seven-point game, 54-47. Perkins fed Eidson for a dunk and Anderson capped a 10-0 Maccabi run with free throws. Kaukenas scored in penetration but Eidson bettered that with a triple, good for a 62-50 Maccabi lead. Garbajosa scored twice the paint but another big dunk by Eidson allowed Maccabi to keep a double-digit lead, 64-54, after 30 minutes.
Lavrinovic tried to ignite the guests' comeback with a layup-plus-foul early in the fourth quarter and soon matched Perkins' driving layup with free throws. Maccabi now tried to slow down the game tempo, using long possessions to run the game clock down. Fischer scored in the low post but Lavrinovic gave Madrid some hope at 68-61. Eidson buried a mid-range jumper and Anderson added an alleyoop layup for a 72-63 Maccabi lead with 7 minutes to go. Maccabi entered the foul bonus soon after that, as Prigioni downed free throws and Velickovic scored in the paint to make coach Pini Gershon call timeout at 72-67. Anderson made free throws and fed Fischer for an alleyoop layup that set the crowd on fire at 76-67 with 4 minutes left. Kaukenas sank foul shots but didn't find much help around. Jaric missed an open shot from downtown and a four-meter jumper by Fischer sealed the outcome, 78-69, with under 2 minutes to go. Madrid kept trying, however, as free throws by an unstoppable Kaukenas and a corner triple by Jaric got the guests within 78-74 with 1:01 to go. Perkins answered from downtown off a Maccabi timeout to make all Maccabi fans celebrate that their team had rejoined the Top 16 race with a big home win.
Thursday, February 4, 2010