By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv maintained their perfect record in the fifth week of the Adriatic League season following their 78 – 67 victory over Partizan mt:s Belgrade. It was their second win over the Serbian champions in the space of three days. Jordan Farmar was named game MVP, with 14 points and 7 assists. Devin Smith and Sofo Schortsanitis each added 12 points.
Blatt’s starting five were Yogev Ohayon, David Blu, Jordan Farmar, Sofo Schortsanitis, and Devin Smith. Maccabi opened with a strong inside game, thanks in large part to Sofo’s tremendous efforts under the basket. After four minutes, the score was 13 – 3, Maccabi. A beauty of a three pointer from the top of the arc by Smith and a steal/coast-to-coast layup by Theo Papaloukas made it 18 – 6 halfway through the period. Partizan’s big man Nikola Peković began to make his presence felt, and together with Acie Law helped the visitors pull within eight, 18 – 10 with less than four minutes left in the quarter. But Keith Langford and Richard Hendrix each delivered a layup, as did Lior Eliyahu (assist Farmar). Farmar went on to drain a three from the left wing off an assist from Papaloukas, and the period ended with Maccabi up 28 – 14.
The second quarter also started well for Maccabi, with a steal/assist by Richard Hendrix, who dished to Eliyahu for the dunk. Smith scored again from downtown to put Maccabi up 33 – 14 after two minutes of play in the period. The Serbians fought to get back into the game and succeeded in narrowing the gap; midway through the period the score was 33 – 20. Smith scored a layup off a slick pass from Farmar, who then went on to score three straight layups (the first two from dishes by Langford and Blu, the third off a steal of his own) which put Maccabi’s lead at twenty, 41 – 21, with two and a half minutes left in the half. Shawn James delivered a nice one-handed shot and Langford and Guy Pnini scored as well, sending the teams into the halftime break with the score 48 – 26.
The early minutes of the third quarter were fairly balanced between the two teams, with a dunk by Hendrix soon answered by Peković. After two and a half minutes the score stood at 52 – 30. After Partizan scored two straight three pointers, Blatt put Papaloukas back in the game, and the seasoned veteran quickly made his presence felt with a fantastic pass under the basket to Smith for the layup followed by a dunk of his own off a steal/assist from Farmar. Peković continued to work toward getting his team back in the game, but thanks to points by Hendrix and a quick score on the inbounds by Pnini, Maccabi finished the third period with a 62 – 48 lead.
The final period opened with a Blu-tiful three from the right corner, a sweet hook shot by Sofo, and a special delivery from Pnini at the top of the arc; a mere eighty seconds into the quarter Maccabi led 70 – 48. Law scored for Partizan but then negated those points by fouling Farmar for the bucket and 1. Peković and company fought to lower their deficit in the closing minutes of the game, but Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv hung on to take a 78 – 67 victory over Partizan mt:s Belgrade.
Maccabi: Farmar 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 rebounds; Smith 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals; Schortsanitis 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists; Pnini 8 points; Blu 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal; Eliyahu 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Hendrix 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist; Papaloukas 4 points, 5 assists, 2 steals; Langford 4 points, 3 assists; James and Ohayon 2 points each.
Top scorers for Partizan: Peković 23 points; Lučić 13 points.