Maccabi Electra ran away from Montepaschi Siena 97-82
Maccabi Electra did its part and then followed closely the end of the Efes Pilsen-Real Madrid game in Istanbul before celebrating a return to the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Maccabi defeated Montepaschi Siena 97-82 in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate and now turns its attention to next week's visit to Madrid, which will decide the Group F winner and home-court advantage in the next round. The fourth quarter featured four ties and five lead changes and the scoreboard showed 79-78 after a Terrell McIntyre layup with just over three minutes remaining, but Maccabi reeled off an 18-4 finish to the game to win, claim the head-to-head tiebreaker against Montepaschi and then celebrate a playoff berth after Madrid won. The Israeli champs also set a Euroleague record with 43 points in the fourth quarter. Alan Anderson, who was awarded his Sportingbet MVP of the Month for February by team president Shimon Mizrahi before tipoff, shined again, leading six Maccabi scorers in double figures with 24 points. Chuck Eidson added 16 points, Doron Perkins 14, David Bluthenthal 13 and Stephane Lasme and Andrew Wisniewski had 11 each. Maccabi overcame 15 turnovers in part thanks to great free throw shooting – 26 of 29 (89.6%). Henry Domercant's season-high 21 points were not enough for the Italian champs, who were mathematically eliminated when Madrid won. McIntyre added 14 points, and Romain Sato and Benjamin Eze had 10 apiece in defeat.
Maccabi got off to a promising start, drawing fouls from three Montepaschi players on the first two possessions and going up on a Eidson jumper and Anderson free throws. Montepaschi came right back as David Hawkins scored from the line and Sato sank a jumper. Anderson converted a three-point play as the fouls mounted on both sides. The hosts kept a small lead as both teams used all five players on the attack. D’Or Fischer’s outlet pass led to an Eidson slam and a 13-8 lead, but Fischer committed his second foul trying to block Sato’s shot on the next play and needed to take a seat. Hawkins scored in the paint and Shaun Stonerook on a goal-tending call, but Wisniewski and Anderson kept the hosts on top. Ksistof Lavrinovic came in for the visitors, but had his first shot attempt blocked by Lasme. The momentum soon switched hands as Lavrinovic got to the line and made 2, Hawkins stripped Perkins and coasted in for a layup that gave Montepaschi its first lead, 17-18. Despite a Lasme layup, Domercant drilled the game’s first three-pointer to give his side a 19-21 edge after 10 minutes.
Lasme followed a Wisniewski miss to tie the score, but Lavrinovic put Montepaschi back on top with a free throw. The teams traded leads with Anderson and later Perkins putting Maccabi ahead and Zisis responding for the visitors. Perkins started to shine with a steal and layup, leading to a Montepaschi timeout with the scoreboard showing 29-26. A Bluthenthal triple brought the fans to their feet. Domercant responded in style only to see Eidson also knock down a triple. Perkins found an opening and drove to the lane for an acrobatic layup and to stretch the lead to 8 points. After a timeout, Sato nailed a long jumper, but Maccabi stayed strong as Bluthenthal fed Lasme for a basket-plus-foul. Lasme rejected Stonerook at the other end before Eidson gave the hosts their first double-digit lead. The Montepaschi ball movement continued to create good shot opportunities and Lavrinovic converted one inside. Then McIntyre got on the scoreboard with a fast break layup and a second straight turnover caused Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon to spend a timeout. Bluthenthal attacked the basket for 2 points, but Hawkins matched him with 2 free throws t make it 43-37 at the half.
Lasme opened Macacbi’s second-half account with a pair of free throws, but Eze scored twice inside as Montepaschi closed the gap. Wisniewski telegraphed a Hawkins pass and took it in for a layup, however Sato’s triple and a McIntyre free throw kept the visitors rolling. Stonerook tied the score at 47-47 with a basket on the offensive glass and McIntyre nailed his first three-pointer to put the visitors back on top at the end of a 2-10 run. A Maccabi timeout killed the Montepaschi momentum as Lavrinovic missed twice from downtown and Eidson sank 2 free throws. However, Domercant beat the 24-second shotclock with a three-pointer and McIntyre scored an uncontested layup on the break to make it 49-55. Perkins answered back with a three-pointer and Fischer matched an Eze basket with a jumper as the hosts clawed back to 54-57 entering the decisive fourth quarter.
Nikos Zisis picked a good time for his first basket, but Perkins’s offensive rebound and three-pointer kept Maccabi within a shot. Domercant scored only to see Wisniewski score three the hard way and bring his team within 1. McIntrye came back after a brief rest to set the Montepaschi attack, leading to an Eze basket. Anderson knotted the score at 63-63 with a three-pointer. Domercant silenced the Tel Aviv crowd with a big three from the corner – his fourth of the game. Lasme and Lavrinovic traded baskets. Anderson scored again and Lavrinovic sank 2 from the line. Bluthenthal knotted the score with a clutch triple and then Anderson raced down the floor for a breakaway slam as Maccabi went ahead 72-70 and the Nokia Arena crowd started to sing. Coming off a timeout, McIntyre rifled in a triple to put his team on top. Anderson tied the game with a free throw, but missed the second. However Bluthenthal was there to grab the offensive rebound and put it in. Domercant was fouled shoting from downtown and sank 3 from the line as the lead went to the visitors. Anderson answered and Fischer followed a Wisniewski miss for a big score. After McIntyre scored and Eidson made free throws, Anderson teamed with Fischer for the play of the night, an alley-oop pass to Fischer with 1:36 remaining to make it a 5-point game. Eze scored once from the line at the other side, but Anderson made 2 free throws with 1:01 to play to make it 85-79. McIntyre went to the line and made only 1 with 42.5 seconds on the clock. Bluthenthal sank a long three to make it 88-80 with 29 seconds to go as the crowd roared. Domercant made 2 free throws with 26.7 second left, bringing his team within 6. Maccabi used a timeout to plot out the final seconds as the game started to become a free throw contest. Anderson made just 1 with 24.1 to play. McIntyre went for a three, but missed and the rebound went to the hosts. Eidson went to the line with 13.3 second left and put Maccabi up 9. Wisniewski tipped the inbounds pass and Eidson iced the game from the line as Maccabi turned to Istanbul to find out if it could start celebrating a quarterfinals berth.
Thursday, March 4, 2010