Maccabi Electra smashed Zalgiris Kaunas 84-70
Maccabi Electra bounced back from its initial Turkish Airlines Euroleague loss in Group A by downing Zalgiris 86-70 at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. Both teams join a four-way tie for second place in Group A right behind Caja Laboral, still undefeated at 2-0. Sofoklis Schortsianitis paced the winners with 24 points on 9-of-13 two-pointers in less than 22 minutes. Richard Hendrix added 14 points while Lior Eliyahu had 12 for Maccabi. Paulius Jankunas led Zalgiris with 17 points but nobody else scored in double digits for the guests. David Blu struck twice from downtown in a 10-0 run that gave Maccabi a 25-11 after 10 minutes. Schortsianitis was simply unstoppable in the paint ad got some hel from Hendrix and Chuck Eidson to boost the hosts' lead to 47-27 at halftime. Jankunas and Dainius Salenga fueled Zalgiris' comeback after the break, as a 0-10 run brought the guests within 52-46.
Travis Watson got Zalgiris going with a put-back layup that Schorsianitis bettered with a three-point play for a 3-2 Maccabi lead. Eliyahu sank his trademark jump hook in transition and Schortsianitis scored down low, as Zalgiris did not find answers against him. Maccabi used twin point guards - Jeremy Pargo and Doron Perkins - to play up-tempo and another layup by Schortsianitis gave the hosts a 9-2 lead. Guy Pnini capped a 11-0 run with a running jumper, as Watson stepped up with a layup for an 11-4 score. Eliyahu hit a baseline jumper, making Zalgiris call timeout at 13-4. Schorsianitis beat Mirza Begic in the low post but DeJuan Collins scored in transition and fed Tadas Klimavicius for an easy layup that got Zalgiris within 15-8. Mantas Kalnietis took over with an acrobatic basket but a layup by Hendrix and a mid-range jumper by Blu kept Maccabi out of trouble, 19-10. Blu sent the crowd to their feet with back-to-back triples to cap a 10-0 run that allowed Maccabi to get a 25-11 margin after 10 minutes.
A reverse layup by Hendrix made it a 16-point game, 27-11, early in the second quarter. Marty Pocius found his first points on a driving layup and Aleksandar Capin added free throws to give Zalgiris some hope at 27-15. Tomas Delininkaitis silenced the crowd with a three-pointer, as Maccabi struggled to get Eidson involved. Pargo and Pocius traded mid-range jumper and a fallaway shot by Jankunas made the hosts call timeout at 30-22. Schortsianitis singlehandedly rescued Maccabi with a three-point play, free throws and a wild two-handed dunk, good for a 37-22 lead. Eidson capped a 10-0 run with a fast break dunk that broke the game open, 40-22. Dainius Salenga tried to change things for Zalgiris but Eidson and Hendrix soon gave Maccabi a 44-24 margin. Klimavicius shined with a put-back basket and Kalnietis split foul shots but Hendrix and Pnini restored a 47-27 Maccabi lead at halftime.
Maccabi changed its game plan after the break used long possessions to slow down the game tempo but the hosts stopped finding easy baskets in transition. Pocius tried to ignite the guests' comeback with a layup and Jankunas scored inside but Eliyahu beat the shot clock with a big basket for a 49-31 score. Watson scored in the paint and Jankunas struck from downtown to bring Zalgiris within 49-36. Perkins and Arturas Milaknis joined the three-point shootout but free throws by Begic and Jankunas got the guests within single digits, 52-43. Maccabi struggled to score without Schortsianitis on the floor and a layup-plus-foul by Salenga brought Zalgiris back to life, 52-46, after a 0-10 run. Perkins provided a highlight with a reverse layup and soon scored off a midcourt steal to give the hosts some fresh air at 56-46. Collins sank a triple but Tal Burstein answered with a layup in transition. Jankunas and Eidson traded free throws but a tip-in by Hendrix and a buzzer-beating triple by Pnini gave Maccabi a 65-51 margin after 30 minutes.
Pocius had a huge block on Elishay Kadir's dunk attempt but Zalgiris needed answers in the other end, too. Hendrix sank a close jumper and even when Kalnietis dunked it, Burstein kept Maccabi out of trouble, 69-53, with 7 minutes left. Kalnietis kept pacing Zalgiris with a driving layup but the guests only managed to trade baskets now. Hendrix scored off a wild spin move in the paint, as Maccabi brought Schortsianitis back on the floor. Jankunas scored in penetration but Eliyahu matched that with an alleyoop layup. Delininkaitis struck from downtown and Pocius fed Kalnietis for an easy layup but Eidson and back-to-back dunks by Schortsianitis sealed the outcome, 79-64, with 2 minutes. Everything was said and done, as Maccabi had pleased its fans with a big home win. Menanwhile, Zalgiris must bounce back right away against Asseco Prokom next week.
Thursday, October 28, 2010