By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv’s Euroleague record moved up to 1 -1 after their 70 – 66 victory over Partizan mt:s Belgrade at Nokia Arena. Theo Papaloukas had a noteworthy game with 13 points and a lot of heart on the court. Jordan Farmar, Guy Pnini and Richard Hendrix also had good games. Keith Langford made his debut with Maccabi, and finished with two points in six minutes of playing time. Milan Mačvan (on loan to Partizan from Maccabi for the season), who received a bouquet of flowers from Maccabi’s team captain, Tal Burstein, also had a great game, scoring 14 points and taking 6 rebounds.
Maccabi led off with Devin Smith, Lior Eliyahu, Jordan Farmar, Yogev Ohayon and Sofo Schortsanitis. Maccabi fought hard on defense from the first second, with two steals, one of which led to the first points of the game, by Farmar. Sofo dunked on Pekovic and was fouled for the and 1, making it 7 – 5 Maccabi. Mačvan added points for his new team and made it 9 – 8 halfway through the period. A minute later, newcomer Keith Langford entered the game for Maccabi and scored on a slick cut to the basket. A three pointer from the right corner by Guy Pnini made it 15 – 12 with just over two minutes left in the quarter. Hendrix scored with seconds left on the clock and the period ended with Maccabi up by seven, 19 – 12.
Maccabi continued to look strong at the start of the second quarter, taking a double digit lead off points from Theo Papaloukas, 25 - 14. Mačvan’s second bucket of the period was quickly answered by a fadeaway by Pnini. Sofo was called for his third foul of the game and was replaced by Shawn James, who scored a nice hook shot to make it 31 – 23 with three minutes left in the half. Smith scored from downtown, causing Partizan to call a timeout. The quarter ended with another three from the corner by Pnini, this time at the buzzer, and it was 41 – 29 Maccabi going into halftime.
The third quarter also started off well for Maccabi, thanks in large part to tough defense which included steals (most notably Papaloukas’ theft plus layup on Partizan’s inbounds in the first seconds of the period) and plenty of hustle, as well as forced turnovers and a shot clock violation for their opponent. Eliyahu and Smith combined for 6 quick points to put Maccabi up 49 – 33 after two and a half minutes. The Serbians dominated the offensive boards for the next couple of minutes and narrowed the gap to 49 – 37, but Hendrix jammed in a one-handed dunk and followed it with two from the charity stripe with the resulting score of 55 – 37 with three minutes left in the quarter. Nikola Pekovic was called for his fourth foul and was benched, while Acie Law’s basket and point after set the score at 56 – 40, Maccabi after three quarters.
The fourth quarter got underway with points by Mačvan and Rasko Katic, who helped the visitors shrink the deficit to 56 – 44. Maccabi’s first points of the period came with a putback by Sofo, which was followed by two free throws from Farmar and a bucket by Eliyahu. Halfway through the final period Maccabi’s lead had climbed back up to fourteen, 62 – 48. Papaloukas drained a three pointer, then added a stop-and-Papaloukas to make it 68 – 56 with just under two minutes remaining in the game. The Serbians put on a full-out effort in those closing minutes, and were able to cut Maccabi’s lead in half before time ran out, giving Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv a 70 – 66 victory over Partizan mt:s Belgrade in round 2 of the Euroleague. The two teams will meet again on Saturday for the fifth round of the Adriatic League season.
Maccabi: Papaloukas 13 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Farmar 11 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals; Eliyahu 10 points, 2 rebounds; Pnini 10 points; Hendrix 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block; Smith 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal; Schortsanitis 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block; James 3 points, 2 rebounds; Langford 2 points.
Top Scorers for Partizan: Mačvan and Milosavljevic 14 points each; Law 12 points; Pekovic 11 points.