By Amy Samin
After the tough home-court loss to Real Madrid last Thursday, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv made another notch in the win column with their decisive win over last-place Kiryat Ata, 102 – 80.
It was a real team effort, with Dror Hagag leading the way with 10 assists, and five Maccabi players finishing in double figures to sweep the home team to victory.
Maccabi’s starting five was made up of Marcus Brown, Carlos Arroyo, Lior Eliyahu, Dror Hagag and D’or Fischer.
The visitors opened with Vladi Yermishin, Aaron Nixon, Niv Berkovitz, Haminn Quaintance and Draelon Burns.
In the opening minutes of the first quarter, Kiryat Ata managed to get past the iron defense of Fischer and scored the first points of the game.
Maccabi missed several shots on their early possessions, until the team of Arroyo and Fischer put them on the scoreboard.
But Maccabi continued to play poorly under the basket, while Quaintance helped put the visitors ahead, 7 – minutes of play.
Maccabi got their first lead of the game off a mid-range two-pointer by Fischer at the halfway mark in the period.
From that point, it was Ata’s turn to miss shots, and a free throw by Fischer put the cap on a Maccabi 11 – 2 scoring run lasting until the end of the quarter, which ended with the score 21 – 13 to Maccabi.
In the second quarter, it was once again the visitors who scored first, but Maccabi answered quickly with four points by Charles Gaines and a three-pointer by M. Brown.
A three-pointer by Erez Kohansky at the other end brought Maccabi’s lead down to six, 28 – 22 with three minutes elapsed.
Eliyahu put Maccabi’s lead back into double digits from the free throw line.
A huge three-pointer for Nixon from N.B.A. distance took a bite out of the home team’s lead, bringing the score to 35 – 29 with four minutes left in the quarter.
Like in the first period, Maccabi made a switch in the closing minutes of the half and set the score at 43 – 30 off an alley-oop from Dee Brown to Eliyahu.
Burns, with an easy two from under the basket capped of the half and the teams headed to the locker rooms with Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv leading, 43 – 37.
Maccabi opened the second half with two points by Eliyahu from under the basket after two minutes of play.
Tal Burstein entered the game for the first time, subbing in for Hagag, who made 6 assists in the first half.
Two straight alley-oops and six points by M. Brown put Maccabi up 57 – 42 halfway through the period.
At the other end of the court, seven straight by Kohansky helped lessen the damage, and points by Nixon put the score at 67 – 55 with two minutes left in the period.
Kohansky, who knows the baskets at Nokia well, continued to score from downtown, and with help from Burns was able to whittle Maccabi’s lead down to seven.
Arroyo’s points from the free throw line set the score at the end of the quarter: 70 – 61, Maccabi.
Maccabi took a lot less time to score at the start of the fourth quarter, with an emphatic dunk by Gaines and points by Arroyo putting the home team up 77 – 61 with a minute and a half gone.
There followed two minutes of disorganized play by both teams, which was halted by a free throw by Gaines following his in-your-face block on Berkovitz.
Ata’s first points of the quarter came from two straight baskets scored by Burns at the halfway mark of the final period.
A three-pointer plus foul for team captain Derrick Sharp, done as only he knows how, were followed by a rare miss from the line, and were quickly answered at the other end by Burns with a shot from outside the arc.
Hagag, who did an excellent job running Maccabi’s offense, then scored five straight.
An incredible alley-oop by Gaines off a perfect assist from D. Brown put the cap on the big man’s game, and young Anton Shutbin took to the court in his place.
His teammates made sure Shutbin made the papers, sending him an assist under the basket in the final minute.
The game ended in a 102 – 80 victory for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv over Kiryat Ata.
Maccabi: Arroyo 19 points, 5 assists; M. Brown 17 points; Eliyahu 17 points, 6 rebounds; Gaines 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocked shots; Fischer 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocked shots; Sharp 9 points; Hagag 7 points, 10 assists; Casspi 6 points; Shutbin 2 points.
D. Brown made 5 assists but did not score.
Burstein played but did not score.
Kiryat Ata: Burns 26 points; Kohansky 18 points; Nixon and Yermishin 11 points each; Quaintance 4 points; McKnight and Berkovitz 3 points each; Amit and Nigut 2 points each.
Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon said, “Preparing for this game wasn’t easy.
The league standings of the two teams meant that the players who usually play less were able to play for more minutes.
I’m happy for those who did well; those who played less well will get more opportunities.
The players are professionals, and they need to know what the goal is.
In every game, the goal is different.”
Marcus Brown said, “It was tough to play after getting our butts kicked last week.
In these kinds of situations, we need to work on our motivation.
We did okay, but we need to keep fighting.
I hope we can use this momentum in our game against