Maccabi Tel Aviv keeps on keeping on as a co-leader in contentious Group A with an important 75-65 home win registered Thursday against visiting Idea Slask Wroclaw of Poland. Maccabi's record rises to 7-3 with the victory, good for a tie with Benetton Treviso, but just as importantly, putting distance between any would-be pursuers from below. Slask Wroclaw can now be counted out of that category as its record dropped to 2-7, its victory over Maccabi in the second week of the season a distant memory. Still, Maccabi had hard time against the Polish champs until the third quarter, when they opened a 12-point lead. From then on, Maccabi's victory wasn't in question as its leader this season, swingman Anthony Parker, tallied a team-high 20 points.
Maccabi opened the game with its regular starting line-up that included Parker, Tal Burstein, Arriel McDonald, Nate Huffman and Nadav Henefeld. A quick pair of baskets gave Maccabi a 4-0 lead in less than a minute. Wroclaw coould only manage to score three points before Maccabi launched on a run to 14-5 in less than three minutes. Led by newcomer Michael Wright at forward, however, Wroclaw refused to sit down and came all the way back in by the end of the quarter to trail by only two, 20-18.
Wroclaw continued to stay stayed very close to Maccabi, 24-23 after 12 minutes, then they took their first lead of the game after two from the free throw line, at 26-27. Maccabi came back to lead 30-29 and continue from there to 35-29 and, by halftime, increase it 41-33, with Parker up to 13 points. One of Wroclaw biggest surprises was Wright, who then had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Maccabi came back to the game after the break more aggressive, while Wroclaw had foul troubles, after Dainius Adomaitis and Michael Hawkins got their fourth each. Wroclaw stayed in the game and trailed only by five points, 47-42, early in the qaurter, but from there Maccabi stopped Wroclaw from scoring and finished the period with a 16-point lead. Maccabi continued that way in the final quarter, erasing any lingering doubt about the outcome and finishing for the holidays right where it wanted to be in Group A.
Thursday, December 20, 2001
Eran Sela, Tel Aviv