Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv 92-75 win over DKV Joventut Badalona
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv used a record-setting first quarter to build a big cushion and then held on the rest of the way for a 92-75 win over DKV Joventut Badalona on Thursday night at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. Nikola Vujcic led Maccabi with 26 points and 10 rebounds as coach Neven Spahija's team improved to 3-1 in Group B. The win also extended Maccabi's home-court winning streak to 11 games. Joventut lost on the road for the first time this season, falling to 2-2. Maccabi held Joventut to 5 first-quarter points on 1-for-11 two-point and 0-for-6 three-point shooting, setting a defensive mark for fewest points scored by a visiting team in the first quarter. Joventut, which won the 1994 Euroleague title at the same arena, stormed back in the second quarter and got within 3 in the third quarter, but Maccabi Derrick Sharp turned the momentum with a four-point play and Vujcic controlled the game from that point. Will Bynum added 17 points and 7 assists for Maccabi, Lior Eliyahu had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Simas Jasaitas fired in 13 and Yotam Halperin 11. Lubos Barton had 20 for Joventut, which was without injured star Rudy Fernandez. Charles Gaines had 16 points and 7 boards, but went 4-of-12 from the foul line. Roberto Duenas scored 4 points in 6 minutes in his debut with the team.
Maccabi won the opening tip and went right to Vujcic in the post, who spun past Robert Archibald to dunk the game's first points. Halperin took a steal in for two more and then a give-and-go from Jasaitas to Vujic made it 6-0 before Gaines corrected Barton's missed layup for Joventut's first basket. Maccabi went right back to Vujcic, who scored in the post and then fed Bynum for 10-2 lead, which prompted Joventut coach Aito Reneses to call timeout after less than three-and-a- half minutes. A Barton clear-out resulted in a free throw, but Maccabi kept piling it on. Halperin drilled a three, Eliyahu took his own missed free throw and turned it into an offensive rebound and score and Vujcic threw down another slam before Bynum drilled a triple to cap a 15-0 run. Ferran Lavina made two free throws to end Badalona's scoring drought and then Eliyahu ended the period with a free throw to give Maccabi a 26-5 lead.
Dimitri Flis started the second quarter with two free throws. Bynum responded with a fluke three-point play, as his attempted dunk sailed up in the air and landed in the basket. Ricky Rubio drilled a triple to give Joventut 5 points in 70 seconds – matching its total from the entire first quarter. Bynum came right back with a triple, but Lavina and Rubio, who took a steal in for a layup, had the visitors within 32-14 and thinking of a comeback. Flis helped Joventut cut the gap to 34-20 before a Jasaitis three. Then Barton fed Gaines for a slam and Bennett got on the board with a triple as the gap closed to 38-25. Vujcic continued to shine from the high post with a dish to Jasaitis for a score and then another to Halperin that led to two Jamie Arnold free throws. Barton kept his team in the hunt 14 with a three and then a runner in the lane that made it 48-36 at halftime.
Archibald scored from the line and then Barton nailed a three as Joventut got right back in the game at the start of the third period. When Gaines scored in the paint, it was already 48-42. Eliyahu and Gaines traded baskets and then Badalona took another bite out of the lead when Barton made a short jumper and the resulting free throw to make it 52-49 midway through the period. Sharp stepped up for the hosts with a four-point play and within a minute an Eliyahu slam had Maccabi back up by 10. Duenas scored his first points for Badalona to keep Maccabi from pulling away, but Yaniv Green and Halperin put the yellow-and-blue ahead 72-58 after 30 minutes.
Vujcic scored inside to start the fourth quarter, but Barton came right back with a three that gave him 20 points on the night and Bennett's free throws made it 74-63. Jasaitas drilled a three, but Bynum was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Gaines that could have helped Joventut, but the big man missed three free throws on the next two possessions. Rubio and Bennett both fouled out in the next minute and when Sharp popped in another three, Tel Aviv had an 84-68 lead with five minutes to go. The rest of the game seemed to be for protocol only, as Joventut players showed little faith in making a comeback and the hosts seemed happy to pad their statistics with the crowd singing their praises in the background on the way to a 17-point victory.
Thursday, November 16, 2006