By Amy Samin
After leading by 12 points early in the second quarter, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv lost 79-53 to Real Madrid in the first game of the Euroleague Top 8 quarterfinal series. None of Maccabi's players scored in double figures, with Shawn James and Ricky Hickman scoring 9 points each to lead off the boxscore. Maccabi will get a chance to even the series on Friday evening in Madrid.
Starters for Maccabi were Shawn James, Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman, Yogev Ohayon, and Nik Caner-Medley. Hosts Real Madrid jumped to a 5-0 lead in the opening seconds of the game, but points by Smith, James and Ohayon gave Maccabi a 6-5 lead after two and a half minutes of action. Caner-Medley added a spin-and-in from inside the paint, but Rudy Fernandez quickly tied the score for the home team. Maccabi continued to play well, but the score waffled as Maccabi continued to score and Real Madrid to respond. A huge trey by Caner-Medley put Maccabi back on top 15-12; he soon followed it with another from exactly the same spot on the right wing. Hickman closed out the quarter with a three of his own, making it 23-14 Maccabi.
Sylven Landesberg scored from the right corner to kick off the second quarter, putting Maccabi up 26-14. But Real Madrid came roaring back, while Maccabi had trouble getting their shots to drop. After a 24-4 scoring run, the hosts took a 38-27 lead into the halftime break.
Maccabi looked better at the start of the third quarter, with James scoring twice in quick succession and Ohayon, Smith and Hickman also adding points. After three minutes they had cut the deficit to 46-37.The hosts continued to control the pace of the game, though, and the period ended with the score 59-43.
The fourth quarter got off to a slow start for Maccabi, while Real continued to score at will. Maccabi's first points of the period came off a layup by Landesberg after three minutes of play. Team captain Lior Eliyahu added two off the glass a minute and a half later, but for the most parts Maccabi's shots failed to find the basket. In the end, Real Madrid won the first game in the best-of-five playoff series, 79-53. Game 2 will take place on Friday night in Madrid.
Maccabi: James 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks; Hickman 9 points, 3 assists; caner-Medley 8 points, 4 rebounds; Smith 7 points; Landesberg and Planinic 5 points each; Ohayon 4 points; Eliyahu and Logan 2 points each; Roth and Pnini 1 point each