Maccabi downed Khimki 80-76
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv completed the Top 16 picture from Group A by hanging on to beat BC Khimki Moscow region 80-76, a result that eliminated Khimki from Top 16 contention and promoted Partizan m:ts and Caja Laboral to the next stage. Jeremy Pargo scored 18 and dished 4 assists as Maccabi extended its league-best winning streak to eight games. Khimki led by double figures in the third quarter, but Maccabi fought back and was calm down the stretch to pick up the win. Guy Pnini added 15 points, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, who was questionable coming in, added 13 and Doron Perkins scored 10 for Maccabi, whose 8-1 record is tied for the best in the Euroleague. Keith Langford paced Khimki with 20 points, Kresimir Loncar netted 13 and Zoran Planinic produced 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in defeat.
Planinic got things rolling with a perfect pass to Ben Eze for an alley-oop slam and a foul. Perkins penetrated for Maccabi’s first points with a layup. The pace picked up as both teams went for – and missed – alley-oops: Maccabi on a bad pass from Pargo and Khimki when Eze couldn’t get the dunk down. Perkins set up Lior Eliyahu for a slam, but Khimki went ahead on a Planinic three. Eliyahu shined by blocking Loncar at one end and racing down for a layup that made it 8-7, but he landed hard and was escorted to the bench. Chuck Eidson played the pick-and-roll with Schortsanitis and then dished to Pargo for a three as the hosts doubled Khimki’s output. Eze scored from the line, but Big Sofo bettered him with another basket-plus-foul. Vitaly Fridzon sank a three to close the gap to 17-12. Thomas Kelati beat the first-quarter buzzer with a three-pointer bringing the visitors within 18-15.
Yaniv Green missed a put-back slam and Raul Lopez punished him by tying the score with a three-pointer. Loncar was next to connect from downtown as Khimki regained the lead. After a Maccabi timeout, Loncar went inside to extend the Khimki run. Langford took the baton and penetrated for a reverse layup and scored a basket-plus-foul on the break. Loncar sank a jumper to cap a 0-17 charge to make it 18-29. Schortsanitis scored from the line, but Langford stayed red hot at the other end. Fridzon put Khimki up 13 from the line. David Blu put a charge into a silent crowd with a deep three for Maccabi’s first basket in nearly 10 minutes of game time. Langford and Perkins swapped free throws before Pargo sank a reverse layup to narrow the gap to 30-37 by halftime.
Langford opened the second half by pushing his team back to a 9-point lead, but Blu hit again from behind the arc as the Maccabi fans tried to push their team on. Pargo fed Schortsanitis for a slam, but Loncar answered from the line as the teams started to settle in and trade baskets. The visitors regained the upper hand when Langford hit from deep, Pargo missed a three and then Kelati drilled a triple to give Khimkki a 40-50 cushion midway through the fourth quarter. Perkins nailed a three and Pnini was fouled shooting a three – and made the resulting 3 free throws – as Maccabi came right back. Pargo went behind the back to feed Richard Hendrix for a stuff to cap an 8-0 Maccabi run. Langford ended Khimki’s quiet time with a pair of free throws. Tal Burstein drew the hosts closer with a basket on the offensive glass and Hendrix put the crowd on its feet with a second-chance score to complete the comeback, making it 54-53. Langford countered with 2 more free throws, but Pnini sank a triple and Pargo added free throws to push the lead to 59-55 through three quarters.
Loncar cut the lead to 2 to start the fourth quarter, but Pnini pushed Maccabi up 64-57 with a three-pointer. Eze scored inside, but Burtstein penetrated to keep the hosts in control. Eze came through again, but before the visitors could get closer, Blu flew in to block a Fridzon layup from behind and Pargo lifted the hosts to 68-61. Planinic scored from near, but Pnini countered from far. Planinic kept Khimki breathing with 2 free throws, a steal and an assist to Lopez for a clutch three that reduced the difference to 72-68 with 2:22 remaining. Hendrix kept Maccabi on top with 2 free throws and Langford quickly responded. Pargo got to the hole with 1:11 left in the game and Kelati missed a three at the other end. But Pargo lost the ball and Planinic made it a 5-point game from the line. It became a free-throw contest in the closing seconds, but although Macccabi was not perfect from the line, Khimki could not take advantage and Maccabi stretched its league-best winning streak to eight games.
Thursday, December 16, 2010