By Amy Samin
In week 25 of the Israeli League, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Maccabi Bazan Haifa 76-72 at Nokia Arena. Shawn James was game MVP with 14 points and 8 blocks. David Logan contributed 15 points, Pnini added 12 points, and Devin Smith had a double double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Yogev Ohayon also had a great game, with 9 points and 7 assists.
Maccabi's starters were Yogev Ohayon, Devin Smith, Shawn James, Ricky Hickman and Guy Pnini. Haifa opened strong, jumping to an 8-0 lead before Ohayon scored a layup to put Maccabi on the board after two and a half minutes. Pnini added a triple to narrow the gap, but Haifa responded. Points by Hickman, James and Darko Planinic made it 15-11 with four minutes left in the period. A three from the left corner by David Logan and a layup by Sylven Landesberg helped to tie the score at 17, but Haifa reopened a small lead and the period ended with the visitors once again in the lead, 21-17.
The first minute and a half of the second quarter belonged to James, who scored twice (once off a dish from Ohayon for the reverse dunk) and played excellent defense on the other end of the court and tying the score at 21. The teams traded three pointers until a second triple in the period for Pat Calathes of Haifa put the visitors up 30-24 with just under seven minutes left in the period. Pnini drained a three from the right corner, then Smith and James set about rejecting Haifa's shot attempts. A diving layup by Smith put Maccabi back within one, 30-29 just before the halfway mark. Smith put Maccabi in the lead with a bucket from downtown, then served up a nice dish to Logan in the paint. Logan scored again off an alley oop from Ohayon to make it 36-32 with just after three and a half minutes left in the half. Haifa didn't give up, but a dunk by James (assist Pnini) and points from outside the arc wrapped up the period with Maccabi leading 44-36.
Haifa fought their way back to only a three point deficit in the early minutes of the third quarter, but a catch and shoot from downtown by Pnini made it 49-43 after three minutes of play. James continued to reject Haifa's shots, while on offense Smith and Logan kept Maccabi ahead of the visitors, 56-51 with just over a minute remaining in the period. Points by team captain Lior Eliyahu (assist Planinic) ended the period with the score 58-53, Maccabi.
The final quarter opened with a dunk by James (assist Moran Roth). The center continued to block shots right and left, and Landesberg scored off a dime from Eliyahu. A steal and dunk by James made it 64-57 with just over six and a half minutes left in the game. The visitors came roaring back, scoring eight unanswered points and reclaiming the lead, 65-64 with four and a half minutes still on the clock. A three by Logan put Maccabi back on top, and two straight buckets by Eliyahu helped keep things that way. Ohayon added a clutch basket off the glass and Maccabi's defense handled the rest, as Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Maccabi Bazan Haifa 76-72.
Maccabi: Logan 15 points, 3 assists; James 14 points, 8 blocks, 5 rebounds, 2 steals; Pnini 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists; Smith 11 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 2 assists; Ohayon 9 points, 7 assists, 2 steals; Eliyahu 6 points; Landesberg 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Hickman 3 points; Planinic 2 points.