By Amy Samin
Maccabi’s starting five was made up of Chuck Eidson, Alan Anderson, Guy Pnini, Yaniv Green and Andrew Wisniewski.
Visitors Haifa led off with Dror Hagag, Ido Kozikaro, Jason Rich, Davon Jefferson and Jesse Pellot-Rosa.
Both teams got off to a weak start early in the game, with turnovers and missed shots.
A free throw by Anderson put Maccabi Tel Aviv up 5 – 4 with a little over three minutes elapsed.
The home team fought hard for rebounds and was tenacious on defense, and offensively things turned around when Wiz rattled in a three with four minutes left, 11 – 6 Maccabi TA.
Free throws from Raviv Limonad, D’or Fischer (who was 100% from the charity stripe) and David Bluthenthal finished off the first quarter.
The home team led after one period: 20 – 16.
Maccabi TA kicked off the second quarter with an 8 – 0 scoring run mostly made up of three pointers by Limonad and Bluthenthal.
Haifa tried to respond, but two more threes by Bluthenthal and points by Eidson gave Maccabi a 40 – 27 lead at the halfway mark in the period.
Doron Perkins put on a superb show against his former teammates, with tight defense, steals, dunks and assists.
Haifa had no response, and the half ended with the home team firmly in the lead, 53 – 38.
The momentum stayed with Maccabi TA at the start of the second half, and the combination of Pnini, Stephane Lasme, Bluthenthal, Perkins and Eidson proved too much for the visitors, who couldn’t seem to get back into the game. With four minutes left in the period Maccabi’s lead had swollen to twenty, 68 – 48.
Maccabi throttled back at that point, and Haifa took advantage with a 7 – 0 scoring run; with just over two minutes left in the quarter, the score was 68 – 55.
Maccabi TA didn’t offer much of a response, and a desperation shot by Richard Roby at the buzzer put Haifa within ten, 72 – 62.
Maccabi took Haifa’s comeback from the previous quarter to heart, and went on a 10 – 0 romp at the start of the final period.
Eidson had a hand in most of those points, with a steal + oop to Fischer, a couple of free throws and a drive-by dunk.
After three minutes, Maccabi was once again up by twenty, 82 – 62.
Haifa did not add any points to the board until four and a half minutes into the period.
Any dreams the visitors may have had about getting back into the game evaporated at that point, and the final minutes of the game were simply a demonstration by Maccabi TA on how to shoot hoops.
Final score: Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 101, Maccabi Haifa 79.
Maccabi: Eidson 18 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals; Perkins 16 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists; Pnini 15 points; Fischer 13 points, 9 rebounds; Bluthenthal 13 points; Lasme 9 points; Limonad 8 points; Green 5 points; Wisniewski 3 points; Anderson 1 point.
Haifa: Roby and Rich 20 points each; Kozikaro 17 points; Jefferson 11 points; Pellot-Rosa 6 points; Hagag 4 points; Ben David 1 point.
After the game, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv head coach Pini Gershon said, “I think we’re a better team than Haifa.
In the end, games like these depend on us; when we guard well here in Israel, we should win.”
When asked about the upcoming Euroleague game against Real Madrid, the coach said, “We have some weaknesses and I think a lot depends on concentrating and guarding the ball.”
David Bluthenthal added, “The game against Real is definitely a do or die.
I think the main thing (for me) is whether my legs feel okay.
I wasn’t with the team at the start of the season, and it’s taken me a while to get my legs back.
I can score from three point range, but I’m trying to work on other things and improve as a player.”