Maccabi Electra edged BC Khimki 76-78
David Blu fired in a last-second three-pointer to lift Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to a 76-78 road win at BC Khimki Moscow Region and a share of the Group A lead on Thursday. In a topsy-turvy fourth quarter of a game that Maccabi had previously dominated, Blu was in the right place to receive a pass from Doron Perkins and nail the game-winning shot. Maccabi improved to 3-1 and joins Zalgiris atop the group. Khimki fell to 2-2 and is tied with Caja Laboral for third. The visitors dominated early and took a 2-16 lead, but Khimki battled and stuck around. A big second half by Kresimir Loncar led the hosts back and a 14-0 run to bridge the third and fourth quarters gave Khimki the lead. The game went to the wire and featured three lead changes in the final minute, however Maccabi and Blu had the final word. Sofoklis Schortsanitis, who was a question mark early in the day with flu-like symptoms, and Chuck Eidson led Maccabi with 16 points each and Guy Pnini added 11 for the winners, who host Asseco Prokom next week. Loncar paced Khimki with 15 points, Raul Lopez and Sergey Monya added 11 each and Ben Eze and Vitaly Fridzon had 10 apiece. Khimki visits Zalgiris in Week 5.
Maccabi got off to an ideal start with Jeremy Pargo and Lior Eliyahu getting easy baskets off steals. Eidson made it 0-6 before Eze sank a baseline jumper for Khimki’s first points. Schortsanitis picked up a second foul from Khimki starter Loncar, who took a seat on the bench, and muscled his way inside as the Maccabi lead grew. Eze missed twice from the line and Eidson banked in a shot for a 10-point Maccabi lead. Soon some pretty passing got Tal Burstein a layup and Maccabi a 2-16 lead. Fridzon finally broke the ice for the hosts with a basket-plus-foul. That opened the floodgates for Khimki as Lopez drilled a triple and Fridzon drove for 2 more points as the crowd got involved. Eidson though kept Maccabi’s momentum with a triple that made it 10-19 after 10 minutes.
Richard Hendrix got on the scoreboard for the visitors early in the second quarter, but Khimki continued to fight back as Lopez added a basket and Monya fed Eze for another. Pnini added a spark off the Maccabi bench with a big triple that made it 14-24. Zoran Planinic countered with a dish to Eze and then a triple of his own, leading to Maccabi head coach David Blatt calling a timeout with the lead down to 5. Pnini fired in another three, but Keith Langford twisted inside for his first basket to bring Khimki within 23-28. Lopez went around a screen for a pull-up triple to make it a 3-point game. Eliyahu answered quickly and Big Sofo came through with a basket-plus-foul to keep the visitors in control. Fedor Dmitriev stepped up with a clutch triple only to see a circus shot from Eidson followed by Hendrix free throws get Maccabi to 29-38. Pargo dove for a steal and passed to Eidson as the Maccabi lead reached double figures again. Doron Perkins added 2 from the line before Dmitriev swished a baseline jumper to put 31-42 on the scoreboard at halftime.
Maccabi started the second half with great confidence as Schortsanitis scored inside and Pargo got to the line for a pair, taking Maccabi’s lead to new heights at 15 points. Lopez fired in a triple and Langford scored twice in transition to cut the deficit to 38-46. Khimki caught fire from downtown as Fridzon and Monya nailed back-to-back triples to bring the home team within 47-50. Maccabi answered quickly through Hendrix and Pnini, but Monya connected on another three-pointer and Loncar made it a 3-point game from the line. Loncar became a focal point inside with another basket and then Fridzon corrected a Loncar miss to finish. Loncar beat the third-quarter buzzer to cap a 10-0 run that gave Khimki its first lead, 58-56, heading into the fourth quarter.
Planinic spun through the Maccabi defense for another basket as Khimki assumed full control. Schortsanitis committed an offensive foul before a red-hot Loncar made it 62-56. Eidson finally ended the Maccabi drought, but Monya bettered him with a triple to stretch the Khimki lead to 7. Blu hushed the crowd with an important three-pointer and Schortsanitis scored in the paint to bring Maccabi within 2 midway through the quarter. Loncar made on from downtown as the crowd erupted, but Sofo could not be stopped and he scored twice to make it 70-69. Planinic found Eze down low, but with the action and drama picking up, Eidson sank a triple to tie the score at 72-72 with 2:49 remaining. Eze barreled over Perkins and was called for an offensive foul, but Maccabi missed at the other end. Langford put the hosts back on top with a layup with 1:15 left, however Pargo gave Maccabi its first lead of the fourth quarter with a big triple with 56.5 seconds on the clock. Loncar answered in the paint and Pargo tried to come back with a drive, but missed and Fridzon and Hendrix came down fighting for the ball. The possession arrow gave the ball to Khimki. But a poor inbounds pass from Planinic gave the ball back to Maccabi for a final shot. Pargo missed inside, but Perkins grabbed the rebound and fired to Blu, who nailed the game-winning three with 0.4 seconds remaining. And Khimki could not get off a shot, leaving Maccabi to celebrate.
Thursday, November 11, 2010