By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Serbian team KK Radnički 92 – 76 in what may have been the last game of the regular season in the Adriatic League [there is one game that was delayed, against Budućnost, but it is unclear at the moment whether or not that game will be rescheduled]. Devin Smith scored 18 points for Maccabi; Lior Eliyahu added 14, and Keith Langford and David Blu each contributed 13 points. It was the last game for the team before they head to Athens to compete in games 1 and 2 of the Euroleague Top 8 quarterfinals, against current Euroleague champions Panathinaikos.
During the halftime break, the fans were treated to a demonstration game of Goalball, a three-person team sport created for blind and visually impaired athletes. The Israeli National Goalball team played against former Maccabi stars Tal Brody and Doron Jamchy, who were joined by a former participant in an Israeli reality television program.
David Blu, Keith Langford, Devin Smith, Sofo Schortsanitis and Yogev Ohayon started the game for Maccabi. Maccabi got off to a strong start in the first quarter, jumping to a 6 – 0 lead off points by Smith and Sofo. Serbian giant (7’3”) Boban Marjanović scored 6 points for the visitors and after three minutes they briefly took the lead, 9 – 8. Blu put Maccabi back on top with a three pointer (assist Demond Mallet) and Langford added two buckets, but Radnički’s Michael Scott and David Simon tied things up at 17 with three minutes left in the period. Richard Hendrix returned the lead to Maccabi, and minutes later Blu’s deuce off a dime by Theo Papaloukas put Maccabi up for good, 23 – 21. The half ended on a mind-blowing half-court+ shot by Papaloukas at the buzzer, 26 – 21 Maccabi.
The second quarter opened with points from downtown by Blu (assist Eliyahu); two and a half minutes later Sofo added a big man’s three to make it 32 – 25. A layup and 1 by Ohayon put Maccabi’s lead into double digits, 38 – 28 and Smith delivered from outside the arc. The half ended with Maccabi up 46 – 37.
Smith and Langford scored for Maccabi early in the third quarter, combining for 8 points; after three minutes Maccabi led 54 – 43. Smith dropped a trey from the right corner and Hendrix added two straight dunks to make it 64 – 50 with four minutes left in the period. Maccabi’s defense dug in, forcing two shot clock violations on the visitors in less than one minute. Blu sank a two point fadeaway and followed it with a three point chaser from the right corner (assist Papaloukas), while Smith added a deuce on a fastbreak layup and had Maccabi’s lead climbing above twenty, 73 – 52 with two minutes remaining. Eliyahu scored twice to round things out and the quarter ended with the score 77 – 56.
Things slowed down a bit in the fourth quarter, with points from Mallet, Eliyahu and Smith bringing the score to 83 – 62 two minutes into the period. Papaloukas sank another three, from the more humdrum top of the arc this time, and Hendrix added points that made it 88 – 66 with the quarter more than halfway over. Radnički fought until the end, but the game ended in a 92 – 76 victory for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv over KK Radnički.
Maccabi: Smith 18 points, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 rebounds; Eliyahu 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals; Blu 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists; Langford 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists; Ohayon 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist; Schortsanitis 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist; Hendrix 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals; Papaloukas 6 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound; Mallet 2 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound; James 2 blocks, 2 rebounds, 1 steal.
Top scorers for Radnički: Scott 18 points; Birčević 13 points.