By Amy Samin
David Bluthenthal, Chuck Eidson, Maciej Lampe, Raviv Limonad and Andrew Wisniewski opened the game for Maccabi, while the visitors started with Ashante Johnson, Justin Dentmon, Nir Cohen, BJ McKie, and Gur Porat.
Maccabi opened strong on both ends of the court and after only two minutes had racked up two steals (Blu and Wiz) and two three-pointers (Wiz and Eidson) to take an 11 – 0 lead.
Afula attempted to get into the game and closed the gap to 13 – 9, but shots from outside the arc by Bluthenthal (his first of three in the period) and Guy Pnini kept Maccabi’s lead over a bucket, 19 – 14 with just over four minutes left on the clock.
Maccabi stayed tough on defense, making the visitors fight for every point.
Alan Anderson had a nice run with a rebound plus drive to the basket for a dunk, putting Maccabi up 23 – 16.
Blu scored twice more from the corner, and
The second quarter started the way the first one ended, with a three-pointer from
Yaniv Green had a nice spin-and-shoot under the basket, while Stephane Lasme’s in-your-face dunk put Maccabi up 41 – minutes had elapsed.
There followed some minutes of excellent teamwork, including an alley-oop from Pnini to Lasme and a one-handed, no-look dish from Anderson to Green (plus foul) which took Maccabi’s lead to 46 – 27.
Following a time-out, Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon played to a straight flush, putting in Green, Pnini, Anderson, Lasme and Eidson; they did not disappoint. On the inbounds, Pnini shot the ball to
Maccabi also continued to play tough on defense, pulling down rebounds and forcing a shot clock violation (the first of two in the period) on Afula.
Lasme made an acrobatic fall-away jumper off an assist from Green to put Maccabi up 51 – 27 just past the halfway mark in the quarter.
Eidson racked up another steal and a couple of free throws, plus an assist to Limonad (who had subbed in for Pnini).
With just under two minutes left in the half, Maccabi’s lead had swollen to thirty, 60 – 30.
Afula’s three straight from outside the arc didn’t help them much, and the half ended with a reverse dunk by
At the half, Maccabi led Afula 62 – 38.
Despite their 24 point lead, Maccabi came out fighting in the third quarter.
An amazing one-handed dunk from
Bluthenthal nailed his fourth three-pointer of the night off an assist from Pnini, who also sent a crisp bounce pass through a thicket of Afula players for a layup by Wisniewski.
Two assists from Wiz (Blu in – you guessed it – the corner, and D’or Fischer with a dunk) nearly made it a forty point lead, 80 – 42 with just under six minutes left on the clock.
Team captain Derrick Sharp came into the game for Blu and kept the intensity up, especially on defense.
An assist from Eidson to Sharp for a layup put Maccabi up 85 – 48 with three minutes left in the period.
A pretty three from Limonad as the shot clock ran out gave Maccabi that forty point advantage, 88 – 48 with just over two remaining.
Maccabi didn’t activate the cruise control; they put on a full court press and played like it was a two point game.
Lampe had a put-back and a fade-away jumper at the end of the period to set the score at 94 – 48.
Maccabi kept the pace up even in the fourth quarter, with Eidson, Fischer, Lampe and Sharp fighting to take defensive rebounds and cause turnovers.
Sharp drilled in a three from the corner, and Lampe, Limonad and Pnini took turns scoring in the paint.
With seconds left, the crowd was on its feet, ready to leave the arena, when Limonad scored a massive three pointer at the buzzer to make it Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 108, Afula 71.
Maccabi: Limonad and Anderson 17 points each; Bluthenthal 15 points; Pnini 13 points; Lasme 12 points; Wisniewski 8 points, 8 assists; Lampe 8 points; Eidson, Green and Sharp 5 points each; Fischer 3 points, 11 rebounds.
Afula: top scorers were McKie 21 points; Dentmon 10 points; Berkowitz 9 points.
“These are the games that you just have to get through,” said coach Pini Gershon after the win.
He then went on to talk about the team’s upcoming game in
“There’s no special preparation for
They’ve gotten stronger with three excellent guards, and we’ll have to defend even better than we did tonight.”
Raviv Limonad, who together with Alan Anderson was top scorer for Maccabi with 17 points said, “We haven’t had such an easy game up until now in the Israeli league.
It’s a good win for us before the game against
I’m happy I had such a good game, after not playing for such a long time.
It felt good to sweat.”
Afula coach Eli Rabi said, “It’s not pleasant to lose this way; deep in your heart you hope it will be different, but we weren’t able to stand up to Maccabi Tel Aviv on any level.
If not for the mercy of Pini Gershon the score would have been astronomical.
We have different goals; we just wanted to have a decent game against them.
I didn’t expect the difference to be so big.
We tried to do our best, but somehow our strengths had no place in the parameters of this game.”