By Amy Samin
Despite misgivings earlier in the week, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv had no trouble dominating the game against
An outstanding first half for Omri Casspi, and a terrific second half for Carlos Arroyo, Lior Eliyahu and the excellent Marcus Brown, made the win look easy for Maccabi.
The Euroleague will be on break for the next two and a half weeks, until the game against Olympiacos at Nokia Arena.
Likewise, Maccabi will be on break at home after this coming Monday’s game against Naharia within the framework of the Israeli Cup Top 16.
The win against
Maccabi has risen to third place in Group A, thanks in part to Cibona Zagreb’s loss to Olympiacos on Wednesday.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv head coach Pini Gershon continued to look to his Israeli triumvirate; his starting lineup included Lior Eliyahu, Yaniv Green, Omri Casspi, Carlos Arroyo and Marcus Brown.
Eight straight free throws, the result of an aggressive offense by Maccabi, saw the visiting Israeli team take an 8 – 5 lead after four and a half minutes of play. On defense Maccabi was slightly less effective, and the French hosts were able to score easily when their shooters were left wide open.
Eliyahu and Casspi took a little time finding their rhythm, but soon they had racked up enough points to give Maccabi a wider lead, 21 – 13 with two minutes left in the quarter.
Improvement on defense enabled Maccabi to close out the period with a 25 – 16 lead.
Casspi caught fire in the second quarter, scoring five points within the first two minutes, and taking Maccabi’s lead to 30 – 19.
Three-pointers by the hosts closed the gap to five, but Arroyo made sure to regain a comfortable lead with his trademark no-look passes and brilliant assists; five minutes into the period the score had bounced up to 39 – 27.
With Arroyo on the bench and a third foul by Green, Maccabi’s momentum slowed a bit, letting
Tal Burstein stepped up, scoring four pretty points and bringing the score to 44 – 32 with two minutes until halftime.
Points by Casspi and Arroyo enabled Maccabi to hold a comfortable lead going into the halftime break, 49 – 36.
Maccabi got the third quarter off to a fast start and increased their lead, but a three-pointer by Bluthenthal and a string of scoreless possessions for Maccabi enabled the French to get back in the game, 53 – minutes of play.
Maccabi quickly regained their poise, and baskets by Brown and Eliyahu took the lead back up to 58 – minutes of play in the period.
Not much changed for the remainder of the quarter.
Arroyo, with a three-pointer and a basket, led Maccabi to close out the third quarter with a comfortable lead, 66 – 49.
Three minutes into the period they had closed the gap slightly, 71 – 58.
Maccabi cut back on their level of intensity, and the hosts were able to cut Maccabi’s lead to 75 – 63 off a three-pointer by Chase, after five minutes of play.
Eliyahu took charge, scoring six important points to keep
That run put the finishing touches on the game, and crushed the home team’s hopes.
Gershon let Arroyo, who had an excellent game, rest for the remaining minutes.
Maccabi earned another, and crucial, away game victory.
Final result, 87 – 73 to Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.
Arroyo 19 points, 7 assists; Eliyahu 19 points, 10 rebounds; Casspi 19 points (10/10 from the free throw line); M. Brown 14 points; Burstein 6 points; Green 5 points, 6 rebounds; E. Brown and Hagag 2 points each; Sharp 1 point.
Williams played but did not score.
Chase 17 points; Spencer 14 points; N’Doye and Koffi 12 points each; Bluthenthal 9 points; Batista 7 points; Badiane 2 points.