Maccabi Electra rolled past Union Olimpija 85-65
Maccabi Electra opened the 2009-10 Euroleague Regular Season in style by thrashing Union Olimpija Ljubljana 85-65 in the traditional Opening Game before a sold-out crowd of 11,000 at Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena. After paying tribute to its past by honoring president Shimon Mizrahi before the game on the occasion of his 40th season at the helm of the club, Maccabi showed off a bright future by controlling the game from start to finish, led by Alan Anderson and Andrew Wisniewski on offense and D'Or Fischer on defense. Maccabi led by 10 after 10 minutes and coasted to 37-25 at the half. Olimpija made its charge early in the third quarter to get within 7, but Fischer's defense quieted the visitors, Wisniewski restored Maccabi control and Anderson took over with a series of jaw-dropping slams in the fourth as Maccabi enjoyed putting on an opening night show for its fans. Anderson led all scorers with 25 points, Wisniewski had 19 points, Doron Perkins scored 10 and Fischer matched his career-high with 5 blocked shots in addition to 7 rebounds. Matt Walsh paced Olimpija with 18, Sani Becirovic had 13, Edin Bavcic 11 and Vladimir Golubovic posted 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Maccabi won the opening tip and got things going with a basket inside by Maciej Lampe. Dusan Djordjevic got Olimpija on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws. The game had a fast early pace, but missed shots kept the score low. Wisniewski woke the crowd up with a pull-up three and soon Stephane Lasme kept the momentum going with a blocked shot, but Olimpija’s scrappy defense kept the visitors close. Walsh drilled a three-pointer that made it 9-7 before a TV timeout stopped the action. Maccabi started to pull away as Anderson and Lasme scored from the line and Anderson added a basket to make it 15-7. Becirovic drove around the Maccabi defense and later drained a free throw to help the Olimpija cause. But Wisniewski’s second triple followed by a drive for a basket in the closing seconds lifted Maccabi to 20-10 after 10 minutes.
Becirovic continued to lead Olimpija with a basket to start the second quarter. Anderson picked off a Saso Ozbolt pass and finished a one-man break with a slam and then Perkins followed with a fast break layup. Bavcic buried a long jumper, however Anderson bettered him with a triple for a 27-14 advantage. A Golubovic slam had no effect on Anderson, who fired in another three for a 14-point Maccabi lead. Golubovic continued to battle on the glass and that resulted in another second-chance basket and Bavcic cut the deficit to 10 from the line, but Olimpija suffered a blow when Ozbolt was called for his third foul. Nonetheless Becirovic played on and sank a triple. Lasme countered with an acrobatic layin and Fischer upped the lead to 14 again with a basket-plus-foul. Bavcic barely beat the buzzer with a layup to make it 37-25 as the teams went into the locker rooms for halftime.
Golubovic crashed the offensive glass for another second-chance basket in the first minute of the second half and Djordjevic followed with a triple as Olimpija fought back. Anderson revived Maccabi with a three in transition, but Golubovic beat the buzzer with a jumper and Becirovic rifled in a three-plus-a-foul as the visitors got within 43-36. Anderson had another highlight with a wicked slam, though Walsh answered for Olimpija. Wisniewski put the hosts back up by 10 and Fischer stood out on defense with a pair of blocked shots. The lead swelled to 52-38 on a pair of Wisniewski free throws. Uros Slokar got his first points on the offensive glass before Eidson sank a jumper. Gasper Vidmar scored inside and Walsh sank a three as Olimpija stayed within 55-45 after three quarters.
Eidson and Fischer struck quickly at the start of the fourth quarter to increase their lead to 14. After an Olimpija timeout, Wisniewski iced the game with a three-pointer and then a steal and a layup as the Maccabi advantage hit 19. A Perkins layup capped an 11-0 start to the quarter before Slokar finally ended his team’s nearly four-minute long scoring drought with a basket-plus-foul. Bavcic added a triple, but any doubt remaining was erased when Anderson rocked the house with a two-handed 360 slam. Guy Pnini’s first Euroleague basket gave Maccabi its biggest lead to that point, 75-53, however Anderson thrilled the crowd with a reverse slam as Maccabi played out the closing minutes wearing big smiles across their faces.
Thursday, October 15, 2009