Maccabi blows out Partizan to seize first place
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv stormed to exclusive control of first place in Group F with a blowout 88-67 home win against Partizan Belgrade on Thursday before a giddy sellout crowd of 11,000 at Nokia Arena. Maccabi is now 4-0 in Group F, a win ahead of both CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid, after its eighth consecutive victory overall and 12th in the last 13 games. From a 10-9 scoreboard late in the first quarter, Maccabi went on a 13-minute, 37-10 blast into halftime and never looked back on the way to beating Partizan. Alex Tyus came off the bench with 16 points on perfect 8-for-8 two-point shooting and 9 rebounds for Maccabi. Tyrese Rice, with 15 points, was the only other double-digit scorer for the winners, who got 8 points each from Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman, Yogev Ohayon, David Blu and Joe Ingles. Partizan got 17 points each from Tarence Kinsey and Bogdan Bogdanovic, plus 11 from Joffrey Lauvergne, but were out of the game early and saw their Top 16 record drop to 1-3.
First quarter: Hickman, Maccabi race ahead
Milenko Tepic and Dragan Milosavljevic put up the game's first two baskets for Partizan before Sofoklis Schortsanitis rocked the rim and Guy Pnini streaked ahead for a fastbreak layup and a 4-4 tie. Schortsanitis fed Smith for Maccabi's first go-ahead basket, which Kinsey came off the bench and matched with a finger roll. Hickman waltzed to the rim in transition to make it 8-6, but otherwise scoring came difficult to both teams until then. After Rice and Lauvergne exchanged free throws, Nikola Milutinov's jumper got Partizan within 10-9. Then, around pairs of perfect free throws by Shawn James and Rice, Hickman blew downcourt for back-to-back fastbreak layups. When Rice finished his own fastbreak scoring high off the glass, Maccabi was suddenly in front 20-9. Milosavljevic stopped that 10-0 run with free throws, but Maccabi was still in charge 20-11 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Maccabi's D stops Partizan cold
Blu downed Maccabi's first outside shot to start the second quarter and Ingles bettered him with a triple, the game's first, to make it 25-11 and force a Partizan timeout. Tyus and Kinsey traded baskets before Blu broke Partizan's zone from the corner at 30-13. Lauvergne put back an offensive rebound but Tyus copied him and Ohayon scored a layup to give Maccabi a 34-15 lead. Tyus turned on the block to put the difference over 20 points and Ohayon kept it going with a long jumper. Bogdanovic ended Partizan's drought with an inventive shot, but the visitors were smothered by Maccabi's defense all over the court. Meanwhile, everything was going Maccabi's way, as Smith banked in a triple to beat the shot clock, Ohayon lobbed to Tyus for a dunk and Rice beat the halftime buzzer with a layup to give Maccabi a whopping 47-19 lead.
Third quarter: Tyus keeps Maccabi well ahead
Tyus downed an alley-oop dunk for a 30-point difference to open the second half. Kinsey dropped in a jumper and Bodganovic a three-point fastbreak layup-plus-free throw for Partizan's first 5 unanswered points in a while. The next inside basket by Tyus was met by a triple from Milosavljevic, then Bogdanovic got another three-point play to cut the difference to 51-30. But Tyus was still on the loose, jamming down a miss by Ingles before Ohayon stole and finished the resulting break at 55-30. Lauvergne was left open for consecutive three-pointers before Ingles got a basket back for Maccabi. Milosavljevic got injured dunking and Kinsey had to take his free throws, making both to lower the deficit to 19 points, but Ingles drilled a three in response. Bogdanovic answered with 5 points in a row to make it 60-43, but Maccabi soon reestablished its defense and control. James scored the next 3 points to steady Maccabi, which held onto a 68-47 lead after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Maccabi mops up
Tepic's baseline dunk and Bogdanovic's runner got Partizan within 70-51 early in the final quarter, but the visitors couldn't stay with Tyus. His dunk and a triple by Rice quickly made it 75-51. Blu added his own three-pointer as the shots started falling again for the hosts. Bogdanovic and Milutinov got points again for Partizan, but time ran quickly and Maccabi was content to trade baskets with its lead back up to 25 points, 80-55. Despite winning the second half, Partizan was going home with a 21-point defeat while Maccabi was looking down, alone, from first place in Group F.
Thursday, January 23, 2014