Despite a difficult week, Maccabi crushed Malaga 87-68 making it three wins in a row since Tzvika Sherf took over. Maccabi is now ranked third in the group with the same results as Malaga, 8-3. Next week Maccabi plays an away game in Zagrev against Cibona.
Maccabi started well with a basket from Fizer and a three from Blumenthal but a very early second foul by Morris left Maccabi unbalanced and allowed Malaga to run. A three by Haislip and penetration by Welsch sported 15-12, four and a half minutes into the first quarter. Maccabi leveled with another three by Blumenthal but Malaga continued to penetrate Maccabi’s defense to lead again.
Maccabi did not surrender to the pressure and private run by Fizer that included; a full court assist from Morris, a three, and a basket with a foul, put Maccabi in the lead at 25-21, 2:15 to the buzzer. Some slack play in the last minutes of the quarter, perhaps due to fatigue from the incredibly fast pace of the quarter, caused Maccabi to lose the lead until the last few seconds when Morris rolled the ball into the net, leaving the score at 29-
Sherf refreshed the lines at the start of the second quarter by sending on Bynum, Batista and Caspi. Maccabi prevented the Spaniards from scoring and led 33-27, 2 minutes into the second. The visitors knew how to come back and caught up with two consecutive baskets, forcing a worried Sherf to time-out. Maccabi did not return from the time-out with brilliant basketball but rather fought back hard with good play by Caspi and Garcia, leaving the score at 37-31, four and a half minutes to the half-time buzzer.
Scariolo also made the necessary changes in his team and came back to a one-point deficit. Maccabi’s play looked based on coincidence only. Omri Caspi displayed lot of activity and determination under the basket. The crowd was on their feet at the end of the half from a great block by Caspi that finalized the half-time score at 44-
Maccabi’s first points in the second half came from a lovely alley-up from Fizer, but on the other side, Maccabi were having difficulties with the rebound and allowed the Spaniards to catch up to within one point at 46-45, four and half minutes before the end of the third.
Maccabi had already tasted a double-digit lead but N’dong and Kus collected points to prevent Maccabi from creating an unreachable lead. The last ball of the quarter fell into Blumenthal’s hands who missed the three pointer leaving the score at 61-54 at the buzzer.
A series of misses and turnovers at the start of the last quarter ended with a basket by Santiago that diminished the lead to 63-58, two minutes into the last quarter. Morris answered with an alley-up on the other side followed by a three from Blumenthal, giving Maccabi a 10 point lead, 70-60 with six minutes to go. A technical foul by Santiago helped Maccabi add another two points from Blumenthal.
Malaga tried to sting with a three by Gabriel and were even presented with a technical foul from Halperin, who in return, scored 5 consecutive points. The score stood at 83-66 with a minute and half to go. Malaga lost interest in the game but Maccabi had their eyes on the 23 point deficit from the previous game against Malaga and tried to unsuccessfully wavier it. Maccabi were “content” with a crushing 87-68 win against the Spaniards.
Maccabi: Fizer 19, Blumenthal 16 (5 rebounds), Morris 13 (6 rebounds), Caspi 11 (6 rebounds), Halperin 9, Batista 8, Cummings 7, Bynum 4. Garcia 0/10 with 6 rebounds. Vujcic and Sharp did not play.
Malaga: Kus 17, Haislip 13, N’dong 11, Santiago 8, Cabezas 8, Welsch 6, Gabriel 5.