By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv advanced to the final in the Chance Cup tournament after trouncing arch-rival Hapoel Jerusalem on the latter’s home court in Malha Arena, 102 – 82. As happened yesterday against Netanya, seven Maccabi players scored in double figures, with Devin Smith leading the way with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Lior Eliyahu and Guy Pnini each scored 14 points. Maccabi will face Hapoel Holon on Thursday at 9:00 pm local time. Theo Papaloukas, Richard Hendrix and Milan Mačvan did not play.
Blatt led off with Devin Smith, Lior Eliyahu, Jordan Farmar, Yogev Ohayon, and Sofo Schortsanitis. Former Hapoel Jerusalem player Ohayon opened the game with a huge three pointer from the top of the arc. Farmar and Eliyahu added points of their own, and Maccabi jumped to a 10 – 1 lead in the first minute and a half of the game. Eliyahu and Ohayon dominated the next minutes of the game with help from James and Smith, while the entire defense put on a stellar show; at the halfway mark Maccabi led 22 – 5. Maccabi’s big men got into foul trouble, but David Blu and Ohayon sent home a matching pair of treys, and points from Pnini and Smith wrapped up the first period with the score 36 – 19.
Jon Scheyer opened the second quarter with a pair of three pointers and an assist, upping Maccabi’s advantage to 44 – 19 in the first two minutes and forcing Jerusalem’s coach Oded Katash to call a time out. Schortsanitis committed an unsportsmanlike foul and was charged with a technical as well, and retired to the bench with four fouls. Jerusalem quickly narrowed their deficit to 46 – 31, but another bomb from downtown by Smith and points by Farmar gave Maccabi some breathing room. The teams went into the halftime break with Maccabi leading 53 – 37.
Smith continued to impress in the early minutes of the second half, scoring two mid-range jumpers before jamming home a dunk off a steal and assist from Scheyer to make it 60 – 44. Jerusalem continue to battle, but a slick bucket off the glass by Blu and a three from the left corner by Ohayon put Maccabi up 67 – 49 with just under three and a half minutes remaining in the period. James was called for his fourth foul and was replaced by Eliyahu, who nailed one of his patented one-handed jump shots. Points by Smith, Pnini, and Scheyer - who scored at the buzzer - finished up the third quarter with Maccabi leading 77 – 55.
Early in the fourth quarter Katash was called for his second technical foul and was forced to leave the court. Farmar’s free throws were soon followed by a classic Blu-and-shoot from the top of the arc, which made it 84 – 63 after about three minutes of play in the period. The pace of the game slowed somewhat, but Maccabi’s team captain Tal Burstein had enough juice left to score two three pointers to help keep the lead comfortable. The final basket of the game was a three by Pnini, and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv claimed a 102 – 82 victory over Hapoel Jerusalem, and advanced to the Chance Cup final on Thursday night.
Maccabi: Smith 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals; Pnini 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists; Eliyahu 14 points, 3 rebounds; Farmar 13 points, 4 assists, 3 steals; Ohayon 12 points, 3 assists, 2 steals; Scheyer 10 points (100% shooting from every range), 2 assists; Blu 10 points, 3 rebounds; James 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks; Burstein 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists.
Leading scorers for Jerusalem: Strawberry 28 points; Jackson and Kadir 12 points each.