Maccabi Tel Aviv took a spectacular 85-89 road win against Montepaschi in Siena, Italy. In a thrilling final minute of play, Anthony Parker decided the match with a triple and kept his Maccabi club in step at 6-1 with CSKA Moscow in first place of Group B. Siena's record fell to 3-4 and shares fifth place in Group B with Panathinaikos. Parker drilled 30 points, but he had great help from Nikola Vujcic who bagged 21 points and 10 rebounds. Deon Thomas had another stellar performance off the bench with 15 points. Maceo Baston submitted 8 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Vrbica Stefanov carried Siena with 30 points, including 7/8 from behind the three-point line. David Vanterpool chipped in with 25 points, while Michail Kakiouzis had 10 points. Maccabi led throughout, but Siena stayed close behind the spectacular shooting from Stefanov and Vanterpool. When Siena pulled to within 1-point in the game's final minutes, Parker reached into his bag of tricks once again and came up with a four-point play that effectively decided the match.
In the opening quarter, Nikola Vujcic was on fire early, drilling the game's first 5 points for Maccabi. Anthony Parker added 2 free throws, which put Maccabi ahead 0-7 run just 2 minutes into the match. Montepaschi scored its first basket after 4 minutes with a 3-pointer by Vrbica Stefanov. Meanwhile, Maccabi missed four straight shots and Montepaschi came back 6-9 on a bomb by David Vanterpool. David Andersen missed the dunk on a sweet alley-oop by Vanterpool and Anthony Parker answered, raining a long triple to put Maccabi ahead 9-15. Vrbica Stefanov and David Vanterpool tied the score with 2 buzzer beating triples as Siena risked 24-second violations. Thanks to that clutch shooting, the first period ended at 20-21.
David Vanterpool started the second quarter where he left off in the first - another triple for a 23-21 Siena lead. Parker tied the score again with a textbook jumper. The game was dominated by offense, as both teams found easy paths to the basket. Parker and David Vanterpool each benefited from great ball movement and the Caribbean guard of Montepaschi gave his team the 34-31lead on two free throws. Montepaschi's lead went to 5-points, but Sarunas Jasikevicius stepped in and drilled a shot from downtown. Parker followed him, nailing two triples to complete a 0-9 run, which gave the guests a 38-42 advantage. Siena pulled closer before the end of the half thanks to a Michalis Kakiouzis lay-up and a David Andersen free throw, which made the score 41-42 after 20 minutes of play.
Maccabi came out on fire in the third quarter. They got off to a 0-9 partial thanks to patient half court offense and good shot selection. Meanwhile, Montepaschi missed four consecutive 3-pointers and Maceo Baston cleaned the glass everytime - flying high above the rim to take down the misses. Siena got its first basket 4 minutes into the quarter when Vrbica Stefanov and David Vanterpool again came to the rescue for Siena, bringing them to within 48-51. After Stefanov and Vanterpool kept Siena in the game, the match tightened, although Maccabi was able to keep a narrow lead. Deon Thomas scored an important three-point play to give the guests a 56-62 lead, but Vrbica Stefanov responded on the other end with a high arching jumper that dropped through the cylander so cleanly that it only touched the bottom of the net. Tal Burnstein closed the third quarter with a strong drive through the heart of the Siena defense and gave Maccabi a 58-64 lead heading into the final stanza.
Maccabi got off to another great start in the fourth quarter and led by Anthony Parker, it ran to a 66-74 lead, which it then pushed to double digits on Deon Thomas' basket. Siena tried to fight back and Roberto Chiacig earned a trip to the foul like where he drilled two free throws. Nikola Vujcic answered him with a delicious hook in the paint. With 2 minutes to play, Vrbica Stefanov sank his seventh triple and pulled Siena to within 72-80. The hosts got even closer after Vanter pool and Zukauskas nailed two more bombs. Suddenly, with 1 minute left, Montepaschi was within 79-82. Anthony Parker responded by going one-on-one with Zukauskas and earning a foul. He knocked down 1of 2 free throws before the riotous Italian fans. David Vanterpool nailed triple with 40 seconds left and Maccabi's lead stood at just 1 point. Showing the attributes of a true superstar, Athony Parker took over once again. He drilled an incredible triple plus a foul, scoring the decisive four points that put Maccabi ahead 82-87. Siena tried frantically to make up the deficit but time ran out on them and the game closed at 85-89 for the visitors.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Stefano Sensi, Siena