Pini Gershon says that everything comes from above. He did not refer to the convincing 88-72 win of his team over Winterthur FC Barcelona. He referred to the surprising losses of Efes Pilsen 49-60 in Zagreb & Lietuvos Rytas 73-75 in Sopot. This combination puts Maccabi top of Group B of the Regular Season and they will go to the “Top 16” draw on Monday in Barcelona, as one of the four teams in the 1st level.
The last game of the Regular Season, was one of Maccabi’s best this season. We saw a much stronger defense which enabled the visitors to score only 72 points. The Yellows played much more as a team, mainly in the second half and after two games with only 7 assists, this time they had 14.
Maccabi ended the first quarter on 23-21. Barcelona, with the brilliant Navaro, took a 32-28 lead but by half time Maccabi were 37-35 up. Maceo Baston was Maccabi’s top player with 11 pts & 9 rbds, 5 of them in offense.
Maccabi’s best was shown in the third period. Will Solomon, very mediocre in the first half, opened strongly aided by Tal Burstein & Nikola Vujcic. In less than five minutes Maccabi opened a 12 pts lead (51-39). With three minutes to go to the end of the period, Maccabi led 61-46 and saw Baston score his first ever three pointer in Maccabi’s colours. and a 67-55 lead.
It took Maccabi four minutes in the final quarter to open a 77-60 lead. Barcelona came back to 77-68 but a 11-4 run by Maccabi in the last two minutes, assured the Euroleague champions a 16 pts win and a double on the Catalans.
MVP for the night was Maceo Baston with a valuation of 33 with 19 pts in 70%FG, 14 rbds (6 in offense), 1 steal & 1 blocked shot.
Other Maccabi scorers: Solomon 16 & 4 asts, Parker 13 & 6 rbds, Burstein 12 & 4 rbds, Vujcic 11 & 6 asts, Shason 6, Penney 6, Sharp 3, Arnold 2 pts.
Juan Carlos Navarro scored all his 15 pts in the first half and played only 4 minutes in the second. De La Fuente & Trias added 10 pts each for Barcelona.