Maccabi Electra edged Caja Laboral 81-83
Jeremy Pargo sank a game-winning jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining to lift Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to an 81-83 road win over Caja Laboral Thursday at Fernando Buesa Arena and to even their best-of-five Turkish Airlines Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoffs series at 1-1. Pargo’s basket gave Maccabi its only lead of the fourth quarter, though the game was tied five times in the last 10 minutes. The series resumes in Israel with two games next week. The series winner will clinch a spot at the Final Four in Barcelona in May. Laboral seemed in control as it heated up early from downtown, making 7 of its first 11 three-point attempts en route to a 40-29 advantage. Maccabi trimmed the gap to 46-38 by halftime and closed the gap in the third quarter as David Blu came through. Laboral stayed ahead for most of the last quarter and seemed to have things under control when Maccabi’s leading scorer, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, fouled out and Mirza Teletovic nailed a clutch triple. But Lior Eliyahu came through with a basket-plus-foul with one minute left, the Maccabi defense denied Laboral and Pargo hit one of the biggest shots of the season to win the game and even the series. Schortsanitis carried Maccabi in the first half and finished with 22 points in 21 minutes. Blu was good for a season-high 18 points off the bench, Pargo totaled 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists and Doron Perkins added 10 points and 4 assists for the winners. Fernando San Emeterio paced Laboral with 17 points and 8 rebounds, Esteban Batista had 17 and 6, Mirza Teletovic 16 and 8, Marcelinho Huertas scored 13 and dished 7 assists and David Logan got all of his 12 points from downtown. The series resumes at the sold-out Nokia Arena on Tuesday for a highly-anticipated Game 3.
Both teams went inside to start the game, with Teletovic getting Laboral on the scoreboard before Schortsanitis drew a foul from Stanko Barac and made a free throw for Maccabi’s maiden point. The hosts added points on jumpers from Huertas and Barac, but had no answer inside for Big Sofo, who had all of Maccabi’s 7 points in the first three minutes. San Emeterio looked to separate the sides when his triple made it 11-7. Maccabi went to its bench early, but stayed with Schortsanitis as its focal point. San Emeterio increased the lead to 16-9 with a basket-plus foul, but after Pargo became the first Maccabi player other than Big Sofo to score, the Schortsanitis cut the gap to 3 with his 11th point. Huertas connected from downtown before Schortsanitis went to the bench and his replacement, Game 1 MVP Richard Hendrix, came in and scored. Guy Pnini got to the basket to tie the game, but just as it seemed the teams would be square through one quarter, Teletovic nailed a buzzer-beating triple with Pargo in his face to make it 22-19.
San Emeterio took charge at the start of the second quarter, driving to the basket and converting free throws and later nailing a three after a Perkins jumper. San Emeterio hit again from outside, but the basket was called off due to a moving pick foul by Batista. Schortsanitis scored inside, but Logan nailed a triple to make it 30-23. Chuck Eidson worked hard to get through the paint for a lafty layup. Batista scored down low, but Sofo matched him. San Emeterio and Pnini also traded baskets. Teletovic connected from behind the arc to put Laboral up 8. After a timeout, Logan hit a long three to give the hosts a double-digit lead, 40-29. Pargo banked a shot in from mid-range and Milan Macvan added a free throw, but San Emeterio further boosted the hosts’ lead to 12. Schortsanitis and Pargo kept Maccabi from falling further behind and Perkins muscled his way inside at the buzzer to make it 46-38 at halftime.
Maccabi stayed true to Schortsanitis and fed him for the first basket of the second half. Blu added a basket on the offensive glass before Logan nailed a triple. Sofo spun around Batista to narrow the gap to 49-46, but Batista countered with a pretty move. Blu hit Maccabi’s first three of the night as the visitors continued to claw their way back and then after Hendrix rejected Batrista, Pargo dished to Perkins for a two-handed fastbreak slam that knotted the score at 51-51. Logan remained unstoppable from downtown with his fourth three-pointer of the night, but Maccabi soon ran the break perfectly for another Perkins slam to stay close. Batista managed to slow Schortsanitis on defense and then scored at the other end, but Blu tied the game at 60-60 with his second triple. Batista scored from the line, but another Blu three gave the visitors their first lead. The lead switched hands on the next baskets with Teletovic putting Laboral ahead until Pargo penetrated for Maccabi. Huertas drew a foul and sank 2 free throws with 2.5 seconds left in the quarter to make it 66-65 entering the fourth quarter.
Schortsanitis tied the score once more with a free throw, but soon picked up his fourth foul going for a rebound. Huertas used the pick-and-roll to free Batista for a vicious slam. They ran the same play twice more and got a free throw and another big dunk to make it 71-66. However the fourth time Batiste bumped Perkins down and committed his own fourth foul. The momentum stayed with the hosts as Schortsanitis fouled out with five-and-a-half minutes to go and San Emeterio sank 2 free throws. Blu tried to spark Maccabi with a basket to make it 73-68, but Teletovic shined with a huge offensive rebound and basket. Eliyahu made an impact with a smooth layup, a blocked shot and a tip-in to make it a one-possession game. Blu then silenced the crowd with a deep three to tie the game at 75-75 with just over three minutes remaining. After a timeout, Marcelinho sank a tough jumper and the Laboral defense stopped Maccabi. But no one marked Blu after a miss and he scored an easy dunk to tie the score once more. Teletovic struck back with a three. Eliyahu tried to match him, but came up short. Teletovic lifted the Laboral lead to 81-77 with a free throw with 1:09 on the clock. Eliyahu came through with a clutch move scoring and drawing a fifth foul from Batista. Eidson’s pressure on Huertas forced a turnover and Pargo drew a foul from Marcelinho and made a free throw to tie the score at 81-81 with 35.3 seconds remaining. Laboral turned to Logan and after his miss, Pargo took the ball, waited out the clock and pulled up for a long jumper that went through the net with 1.3 seconds remaining to give Maccabi a valuable road win.
Thursday, March 24, 2011