By Amy Samin
In a close and hard-fought game in Spain, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv lost to Barcelona 74-71. Devin Smith and Ricky Hickman each scored 16 points, while David Logan and Shawn James added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Maccabi's starters were Nik Caner-Medley, Shawn James, Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman and Yogev Ohayon. Ohayon and James worked seamlessly to put Maccabi up 6-2 in the early minutes of the game. Hickman added a mid-range jumper and Smith delivered a fadeaway stop and pop, followed by more points in the paint from James, 12-5 Maccabi. But the hosts fought their way back into the game, taking a 15-14 lead with three minutes remaining in the period. A flying putback and one by Caner-Medley put Maccabi back on top, and Sylven Landesberg made it 19-15 with a minute and a half on the clock. Barcelona made good use of the time, tying the score at 19 as time ran out.
The score remained close in the early minutes of the second quarter, with Barcelona twice taking the lead and Maccabi tying it up again off points by David Logan. The hosts finally began to open up a lead, reaching 32-24 after four and a half minutes of play in the period. Points by Smith, Hickman and Logan kept Maccabi close, but the half ended with Barcelona holding on to a 36-32 lead.
Barcelona opened the third quarter with a trey, but Ohayon promptly responded in kind, 39-35. Six straight points by Hickman put Maccabi back on top, 41-39 after three minutes of action. Barcelona tied the score at 44 but Maccabi soon reopened a lead thanks to points by Smith and Logan (off a steal by James), 50-44. Barcelona scored but Maccabi held on to the lead and the period ended with the score 56-51.
Barcelona came out strong at the start of the fourth quarter, taking a 58-57 lead after three and a half minutes. A clutch catch and shoot on the right wing by Smith put Maccabi back on top 62-61 halfway through the period. The lead continued to change hands, with more points by Smith and a huge three by Caner-Medley at the top of the arc making it 67-65 Maccabi with three and a half minutes left in the game. Barcelona retook control of the game, however, and ended up defeating Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 74-71. Despite the loss, Maccabi has qualified for the Euroleague Top 8, and will face Real Madrid in a best of five series, albeit without a home court advantage.
Maccabi: Smith 16 points, 7 rebounds; Hickman 16 points; Logan 11 points, 3 assists; James 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists; Caner-Medley 6 points 5 rebounds; Ohayon 6 points; Pnini 4 points; Landesberg 2 points.