Regular Season Round 10 - January 15, 2009 CET: 20:45 Local time: 20:45 - PALACIO DE LOS DEPORTES J.M. MARTIN CARPENA

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
7-2 Regular Season 6-3
7-2 Overall 6-3

Referees

Crew Chief
KOUKOULEKIDIS, STELIOS, Greece
Referee
RYZHYK, BORYS, Ukraine
Umpire
VOJINOVIC, RADOMIR, Montenegro

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
75.4 Points 82.9
33.2 Rebounds 35.6
10.1 O. Rebounds 9.7
23.1 D. Rebounds 25.9
14.6 Assists 14.4
8.1 Steals 8.1
3.7 Blocks 1.9
13.7 Turnovers 13.6
52.4 % 2PT 55.3 %
34.2 % 3PT 36.4 %
73.5 % FT 74.9 %
88.6 Index 91.4

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
12.6 / Kelati Points 15.2 / Eliyahu
6.2 / Ndong Rebounds 7.2 / Eliyahu
1.9 / Ndong OR 2.1 / Fischer
4.3 / Ndong DR 5.3 / Eliyahu
5.1 / Cook Assists 4.5 / Arroyo
1.4 / Kelati Steals 0.9 / BURSTEIN, TAL
1.2 / ARCHIBALD, ROBERT Blocks 1.0 / Fischer
2.3 / Cook Turnovers 2.2 / Eliyahu
63.6 % / ARCHIBALD, ROBERT 2PT 70.3 % / Fischer
100.0 % / Ndong 3PT 50.0 % / CASSPI, OMRI
86.7 % / Cabezas FT 100.0 % / HAGAG, DROR
13.9 / Ndong Index 20.4 / Eliyahu

THE TAKE

Unicaja will face a tough test as it hosts Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv on Thursday in Malaga, Spain, where it looks to clinch first place in Group A. Unicaja leads the group standings and will clinch first place if it beats Maccabi, avoiding other regular season champions - CSKA Moscow, Regal FC Barcelona and Tau Ceramica - in the upcoming Top 16. Maccabi could theoretically finish first, but it needs to win by at least 8 points if Olympiacos loses against Le Mans, or by 26 or more if Olympiacos wins this week. It will be a special game for Marcus Brown, who won the Spanish League title with Unicaja in the past and now returns with Maccabi. Brown and star playmaker Carlos Arroyo lead a deep Maccabi backcourt that also includes veteran guard Derrick Sharp and Tre Simmons. Arroyo will face a big battle against Carlos Cabezas and Omar Cook. Meanwhile, Brown will have a tough matchup against former teammate Berni Rodriguez, who knows him very well. Maccabi's main concern will be stopping Thomas Kelati, who will see playing time at both wings alongside Jiri Welsch and rebounding ace Carlos Jimenez. Tal Burstein will try to use his experience against Kelati, while Jimenez faces Omri Casspi. The battle in the paint will be one of the biggest keys to this game. Unicaja features Marcus Haislip, who is virtually unstoppable in one-on-one situations due to his athleticism and shooting range. December MVP Lior Eliyahu is the right man to go against him. Robert Archibald and Boni Ndong will power the boards against D'or Fischer and Marcus Fizer. Three-point specialist German Gabriel of Unicaja and center Yaniv Green of Maccabi could also have a big impact on the game. Above all, it is a clash of styles. Maccabi plays the up-tempo, run-and-gun, fun-to-watch basketball that coach Pini Gershon likes. Coach Aito Garcia Reneses has Unicaja using alternative defenses, including fullcourt presses after free throws made, as well as rotating players very often to keep high intensity at both end. Unicaja is naturally the favorite, having won 22 straight Euroleague games at Martin Carpena Arena, but it’s worth noting that the last time it lost in Malaga, the winning team was Maccabi.

GAME NOTES

Unicaja
  • Center Boniface NDong recorded his first ever double-double in the Euroleague last week when he scored 13 and downed 10 rebounds on the road against Cibona.
  • Guard Thomas Kelati saw his three-point shooting streak end last week in Zagreb when he finished a Euroleague game without a single made three-pointer for the first time. Kelati's best performace of the season was in Tel Aviv. He scored a season-high 23 points against Maccabi.
  • Guard Carlos Cabezas's scored a career-best 32 points and dished 6 assists in the 2006-07 season opener in Tel Aviv, although that was not enough to lead his team to victory. He also achieved a career-best 41 index in that overtime defeat.
  • Center Robert Archibald made his Euroleague debut against Maccabi in a November 2004 game in Tel Aviv. He played at the time for Scavolini Pesaro and later had a big Quarterfinal Playoffs series, averaging 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 blocks, although Maccabi swept the series.
  • Unicaja’s current six-game winning streak is tied with Regal FC Barcelona for the longest streak of the season so far.
  • Guard Omar Cook has dished at least 3 assists in every game this season. He is tied with Theo Papaloukas of Olympiacos with a league best 5.1 assists per game.
  • Unicaja has not lost a home game in the Euroleague in over two years – a span of 22 straight games. The last team to beat Unicaja in Malaga was Maccabi in December 2006.
Maccabi Electra
  • Guard Marcus Brown spent two seasons in Malaga during his long Euroleague career. He played for Unicaja between 2005 and 2007, helping the team reach the Final Four in Athens in that second season. This will be his first game in Malaga since.
  • Brown has scored at least one three-pointer in eight straight Euroleague games. Brown enters the game fourth on the Euroleague Basketball career list with 281 three-pointers.
  • Brown and forward Lior Eliyahu are both on a streak of five straight games with double-figures in points. For both players the streak started against Unicaja.
  • Eliyahu made his Euroleague debut against Unicaja in the 2006-07 season opener. He scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds that night. Eliyahu also registered his lone multi-block game in the Euroleague against Unicaja later that season, and his lone blocked shot in this Euroleague season in the first leg game against Unicaja.
  • Guard Tal Burstein is closing in on 1,000 points for his Euroleague Basketball career. He enters this week’s game against Olympiacos with 989 points in 133 career games. He also needs just 2 more three-pointers to reach 100 for his Euroleague career.
  • D'or Fischer has recorded double-doubles in each of the last two games. Teammate Lior Eliyahu is the only player this season to have recorded three straight double-doubles. Fischer's season low in rebounds (4) came in the first leg game against Unicaja.
  • Marcus Fizer produced his Euroleague career high in assists (4) against Unicaja last season, when the teams met in Tel Aviv.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

GARCIA RENESES, AITO
Unicaja
"We bounced back in the Euroleague precisely on Maccabi's court. At that time, we had a lot of injuries, but they, too, were a worse team than now. For instance, they didn't have Fizer, who was injured, but is back. Also, Pini Gershon had just returned as the coach, and the only effect at that time could have been a spontaneous one, not the effect that comes from practicing, as they now have for several weeks, which has made Maccabi a much better team than before. It's true we are playing to finish first, second or third, but that doesn't worry me much, because what's important - to be qualified - is already accomplished. What does concern me is that we play well, because each time we do that, we become a better team."
GERSHON, PINI
Maccabi Electra
"In the last games, we have started to see some fruits in the hard word we put in over the break. I hope the game in Malaga will continue that streak. We executed well in the last games, but on Thursday we expect a very high hurdle. Unicaja is one of the strongest teams in the Euroleague, and it's never easy to play there in front of so many fans, but we've been in tougher situations and should find the way to win even under the current circumstances. I'd like to believe we'll continue our streak and keep playing better."

Players

GOMIS, JOSEPH
Unicaja
"It's an important game against a difficult rival, but we have the fact that we play at home in our favor. We have to give everything, as always, and see what happens. We have to keep improving as a team and must not think about whether we end up first, second or third. We won't fixate on them, but rather on ourselves. Maccabi changed the team dynamic with a new coach and are finding better results, but we've got to mind our own performance in order to reach our maximum level."
ELIYAHU, LIOR
Maccabi Electra
"Unicaja is a team with lots of good players and a very deep bench. The fact they beat us in Tel Aviv when so many players were missing says a lot, and obviously now that most of them are back, our task we'll be much harder. I think it's the toughest road game in our schedule so far in the regular season, even tougher than the game in Piraeus. It will be a totally different story than the game we won last week against Olympiacos. We won all the games in the second leg, so we want to complete a perfect run and enter the Top 16 with a big momentum."
Carlos Cabezas - UnicajaUnicaja secured first place in Group A on Thursday with a commanding 92-69 smashing of Maccabi Electra at the Martin Carpena Arena in Malaga, Spain. It was Unicaja’s seventh consecutive win as head coach Aito Garcia Reneses’s men finished the regular season with an 8-2 record. It also extended the club’s home-court winning streak in the Euroleague to 23 games. Meanwhile Maccabi saw it’s four-game winning run end as it finished the group in third place with a 6-4 record. The hosts took control early as Thomas Kelati drained a pair of three-pointers and Omar Cook and Jiri Welsch also hit from downtown for a 15-2 lead. The advantage would reach 17 before the period ended and Maccabi never got closer than 8 the rest of the way. Boni NDong paced Unicaja with 15 points and 5 blocked shots, Carlos Cabezas and Marcus Haislip added 12 points apiece and Welsch and Kelati had 11 each for the winners. Former Unicaja guard Marcus Brown and Omri Casspi led Maccabi with 13 points each and Lior Eliyahu and Tre Simmons netted 10 apiece in defeat.

Both teams misfired early before Maccabi’s Yaniv Green made a free throw for the game’s first point. Kelati hit from downtown for the game’s first basket. Welsch and Cook added threes before Kelati hit his second for a 13-2 lead, resulting in a Maccabi timeout. Eliyahu came in for the visitors, but Carlos Jimenez hit a jumper to cap a 12-0 Unicaja run before Brown ended the Maccabi drought from the line. Cabezas’s steal, layup and free throw put the hosts up 17. Finally, after more than seven-and-a-half minutes, Eliyahu scored Macabi’s first basket. Unicaja did not let up and Haislip flew high for a tip-in on the offensive glass, but a D’Or Fischer jumper and a Carlos Arroyo teardrop narrowed the gap to 27-14 after 10 minutes.

Marcus Brown - Maccabi ElectraCabezas went coast to coast early in the second period to restore Unicaja’s 17-point lead before Casspi battled for a Maccabi basket inside and then threw down an impressive slam to help the visitors gain some momentum. Brown and Eliyahu added baskets as Maccabi turned to a two-three zone that stifled Unicaja for some time and Robert Archibald took a seat after he committed his third foul midway through the period. Arroyo matched Jimenez free throws with a mid-range jumper before Casspi brought Maccabi within single digits for the first time since the opening minutes. NDong muscled Unicaja back up to 43-31. Arroyo sank an important three that kept Maccabi relatively close, 45-36, at halftime.

Welsch started the second half with a long jumper and Archibald stood tall by blocking Casspi at one end and sinking a free throw at the other. Casspi and Eliyahu kept Maccabi from falling to far behind, but Cook’s second three made it 53-40. Brown countered with a tough drive, only to see Cook hit from downtown again. Eliyahu fed Fischer down low for a basket. Archibald attacked the basket for a vicious slam, but committed his fourth foul on the ensuing play and sat down, Haislip dunked for a second-chance basket and NDong drew an unsportsmanlike foul from Casspi. After NDong made free throws, the lead reached 15. Eliyahu kept Maccabi from falling too far behind, but the Unicaja big men answered back and Berni Rodriguez scored in transition as the hosts’ lead shot back up to 68-51. After a Maccabi timeout, Arroyo and Simmons attacked the basket to make it 70-55 heading into the last period.

Haislip converted a three-point play to take the lead to 18 and give Unicaja even more confidence. The pressure on Maccabi didn’t do the visitors any good as they forced up some poor shots, while Cabezas scored a basket plus foul to take the Unicaja advantage to 21. Maccabi kept firing away and would get within 16, but it was too little, too late as German Gabriel drained a three and the hosts pulled away in garbage time for a big win and first place in Group A.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Euroleague.net
Referees: KOUKOULEKIDIS, STELIOS (GRE), RYZHYK, BORYS (UKR), VOJINOVIC, RADOMIR (MNE)
Attendance: 9850
By Quarter1234
Unicaja27182522
Maccabi Electra14221914
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja27457092
Maccabi Electra14365569
Head coach: GARCIA RENESES, AITO
Unicaja
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
00 COOK, OMAR 22:03 9   3/7     2 2 3   2         8
4 GOMIS, JOSEPH 4:44           1 1     2     1   -2
5 RODRIGUEZ, BERNI 20:49 2 1/3 0/1   1 3 4 2 2       1 2 8
9 WELSCH, JIRI 24:31 11 4/5 1/4 0/2 1 3 4 3         1 2 13
10 CABEZAS, CARLOS 17:57 12 5/7 0/3 2/2 1 2 3 1 4 2   2   4 15
12 NDONG, BONIFACE 22:22 15 4/8   7/8   1 1 1 1 1 5 1 2 4 18
13 GABRIEL, GERMAN 4:17 5 1/2 1/2   1 1 2               5
20 JIMENEZ, CARLOS 25:50 7 1/1 1/3 2/2 3 5 8 2         2 2 15
21 ARCHIBALD, ROBERT 15:56 8 1/5   6/8 3 4 7 2   1 2 1 5 5 11
23 KELATI, THOMAS 19:11 11 1/2 3/7     1 1 3 2 1   1 3   7
24 HAISLIP, MARCUS 22:20 12 4/8 0/3 4/5 3 2 5 1 1     1   3 13
Team           3   3     1         2
Totals 200:00 92 22/41 9/30 21/27 16 25 41 18 10 10 7 6 15 22 113
53.7% 30% 77.8%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: GERSHON, PINI
Maccabi Electra
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
5 BROWN, MARCUS 29:21 13 4/8 0/1 5/5 1 1 2 2 1 2   1 1 4 13
6 SHARP, DERRICK 10:10     0/2   2 1 3 1         1   1
7 ARROYO, CARLOS 34:24 9 3/9 1/3     3 3 2 1 3   2 2 2 2
8 ELIYAHU, LIOR 19:51 10 4/7   2/4   4 4 3 1 1 1 2 4 2 9
9 GREEN, YANIV 14:55 3 1/2   1/2   1 1     2     2 2  
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 4:39               1   1     1   -1
11 SIMMONS, TRE 16:20 10 1/2 2/7 2/2 1 3 4   1 2     2 2 7
12 WILLIAMS, JASON DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 CASSPI, OMRI 20:00 13 5/10   3/4 1 1 2     3   2 3 2 3
14 HAGAG, DROR 6:16 2 1/1 0/1     1 1   1       1   2
15 FIZER, MARCUS 9:41 2 1/5       1 1 1 2 1     2   -1
21 FISCHER, D'OR 34:23 7 3/5   1/2 3 7 10 3 1 2 5   3 1 19
Team           5 1 6     1         5
Totals 200:00 69 23/49 3/14 14/19 13 24 37 13 8 18 6 7 22 15 59
46.9% 21.4% 73.7%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

GARCIA RENESES, AITO
Unicaja
"We managed to get a big early lead with great shot selection. Then we had problems against their defense and for some minutes, it was very hard for us to play against it. The team played a very good game overall, we were better than a good team like Maccabi Electra, so we have to be satisfied with that. Finishing first is fantastic, as we had some very good games. The team finished this phase with very high notes, but this only means that we are qualified to the Top 16. We now have to wait for the draw and be as humble as we can."
GERSHON, PINI
Maccabi Electra
"Congratulations to Unicaja for its good game. They had a strong start and we managed to erase the deficit a bit, but then we missed easy shots and we couldn't match Unicaja's rhythm. There are no excuses for this loss, as Unicaja played really well tonight. I wish them good luck in the rest of the tournament."

Players

RODRIGUEZ, BERNI
Unicaja
"We had an outstanding start to the game, playing really well and with great defense. We slowed down a bit, but this is normal. This team has played close to perfection against Maccabi, the Euroleague finalist last season, which adds more value to this win. I don't care which opponents we face in the Top 16. We have to play against everybody and our goal is to get one of the top 2 spots and advance to the Quarterfinal Playoffs."
CABEZAS, CARLOS
Unicaja
"I am very happy. We beat one of the great teams in Europe and managed to finish first, which is the most important thing. I feel better and better now that I have recovered from my injury. We have a little time to rest. We must see which teams we will face in the Top 16 and focus on the Spanish League until the Euroleague is back in action." 
ELIYAHU, LIOR
Maccabi Electra
"I don’t know how to explain what happened to us at the beginning of the game. The first period decided the game. We had a very tough time getting back in the game after that, even though we had several minutes of positive momentum. Tonight was not a performance of out true ability."
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