Maccabi downed Partizan 76-62
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv became the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group A champion by thrashing Partizan mt:s 76-62 in Israel on Thursday. Maccabi improved to 7-1 and clinched first place before anyone else in the entire competition, earning a well-deserved top-seeded status in the upcoming Top 16 Draw in January. Meanwhile, Partizan dropped to 4-4 but could mathematically make it to the next round if it beats Asseco Prokom in Belgrade, Serbia next week. Lior Eliyahu led the winners with 16 points on 8-of-8 two-pointers. Jeremy Pargo added 14, Chuck Eidson had 13 and 9 rebounds while Sofoklis Schortsianitis got 10 for Maccabi. James Gist led Partizan with 14 points. Curtis Jerrells added 13 while Jaka Klobucar had 11 for the guests. Pargo and Eliyahu allowed Maccabi to get a 23-11 after 10 minutes. Maccabi boosted its margint to 42-24 at halftime and then again to 54-28 after the break to cruise to a well-deserved win, convincing home win.
Eliyahu got Maccabi going with an off-balance shot that Jerrells matched with a driving layup for a 2-2 tie. Eidson took over with a driving basket and Eliyahu scored again to restore a 6-2 Maccabi edge. Partizan tried to open the floor with Jan Vesely and Gist at both forwards but didn't find good shooting options early in the game. Eidson kept pacing the hosts with his trademark one-handed driving basket - and the free throw that came with it - and a layup by Eliyahu forced Partizan to stop the game at 11-2. Gist tried to change things with a three-pointer, a huge block on Schortsianitis and a wild alleyoop dunk but Pargo kept Maccabi way ahead, 15-7. Yaniv Green split foul shots and Tal Burstein added a layup in transition to make it a double-digit game, 18-7. David Blu capped a 7-0 run with a driving layup, as Partizan now tried a smaller lineup with Sava Lesic and Nathan Jawai in the middle. Jawai and Klobucar hit free throws while Lucic matched Pargo's layup with a fast break dunk to get Partizan within 23-11 after 10 minutes.
Jawai shined with a put-back layup early in the second quarter and a fast break basket by Gist gave Partizan some hope at 23-15. Maccabi tried a 2-3 zone defense that one again Gist punished with a six-meter jumper. Schortsianitis got the crowd involved with a two-handed dunk that Jawai erased with a layup for a 25-19 score. Pargo took over with a driving layup and Eliyahu hit his trademark jumper to keep the hosts out of trouble, 29-19. Eliyahu found Green for a power layup, as Maccabi now tried a matchup zone defense. Jawai beat it with a put-back layup that Doron Perkins improved with a three-pointer off a timeout. Partizan had troubles to beat the hosts' matchup zone, as Partizan kept struggling to find open looks. Meanwhile, Eidson provided a highlight with a hard-fought put-back basket, good for a 37-22 Maccabi lead. Schortsianitis hit free throws and a three-point play by Perkins broke the game open, 42-22. Rasko Katic buried a five-meter jumper to fix the halftime score at 42-24.
Eliyahu scored in penetration immediately after the break and pargo added an off-balance layup for a 46-24 Maccabi margin. Jerrells hit free throws and Dusan Kecman added a fallaway jumper but Eidson and a red hot Eliyahu restored a 50-28 Maccabi lead. Eidson shined with a power basket in transition and Pargo scored again to make it a 26-point game, 54-28. Partizan struggled to find the way to the basket until Jerrells stepped up with a driving layup. Maccabi was all over the place in defense, as Partizan now tried Vesely at power forward to open the court for its shooters. Klobucar delivered with a bomb from downtown but a fast break dunk by Eidson and a free throw by Burstein gave the hosts a 58-33 lead. Klobucar struck again from downtown and even when Schortsianitis scored around the basket, he added free throws to bring Partizan within 60-40 after 30 minutes.
Jerrells kept fueling the guests' comeback with a bomb from downtown early in the fourth quarter. Schortsianitis scored down low, however, and Eidson fed Blu for a jumper that restored a 64-43 Maccabi lead. Lucic shined with a put-back layup but a jumper by Burstein and another layup by Schortsianitis sealed the outcome, 68-45, with less than 7 minutes left. Burstein scored around the basket but Gist provided a highlight with an unbelievable put-back dunk. Maccabi sat out its best players with over 4 minutes left, as even when Partizan kept trying hard, everything was said and done already. Maccabi pleased its fans with another home win and mathematically became the first regular season group champion in this 2010-11 Turkish Airlines season. Meanwhile, Partizan must keep fighting hard to secure a Top 16 berth in a critical home game against Asseco Prokom next week.
Thursday, December 9, 2010