In the last game before a two-week break in the schedule, Maccabi Tel Aviv has assured that Group A looks just as competitive and tough today as when its teams were pooled together at the Euroleague draw back in July. Maccabi took advantage of another wonderful game by guard Anthony Parker to defeat visiting Olympiakos 78-73 on Thursday and force a four-way tie at the top of Group A. Maccabi, Olympiakos, Efes Pilsen and Benetton Treviso are all 4-2. Maccabi was able to was able to stay undefeate with the help of Parker, whose 23 points allowed him to outscore league leader Alphonso Ford of Olympiakos by one point. Their matchup was a thriller within a thriller. Nate Huffman added 15 points, Arriel McDonald 14 and Tal Burstein 11 for the winners. Stephane Risacher, with 17 points, was the only Olympiakos player besides Ford in double figures.
Maccabi led 43-40 at halftime, just as it had for most of the game to that point. Ford showed that he is almost unstoppable when he opened the game with 8 points as Olympiakos shot out of the gate with a 12-5 lead. Olympiakos continued to stop Maccabi on defense and took it up to 17-9. Maccabi woke up at that point, started to run and managed to take its first lead of the game 31-29 on a basket by Nate Huffman in the 15th minute. From their on Maccabi continued to lead, by as many as six points (39-33) until Olympiakos, at the buzzer, managed to cut the lead down to 43-40.
After scoring 15 in the first half, Ford added only 2 more points in the third quarter. Maccabi used defense to stay a step ahead over the Greeks but that changed when Stephane Risacher, with a three-point shot, gave Olympiakos the lead again, 49-50. Macabbi coach David Blatt called a timeout, but it didn't work right away, as Olympiakos expanded its lead to 51-56. But soon Huffman and Gur Shelef tied the game and Henefeld, at the buzzer on a great assist from Arriel McDonald, set the scoreboard at 61-58 for Maccabi after three quarters.
In the last period Olympiakos stayed close to Maccabi and refused to give up. Three minutes into the last quarter Theodore Papaloukas gave Olympiakos the lead again, this time 64-63. The lead kept changing and Huffman with another dunk gave Maccabi a 71-69 lead with 3:30 to play. Henefeld with another basket took the score up to 74-70. Ford continued to miss for Olympiakos, and would finish the game with 22 points, his lowest total this season. Parker, on the other hand, continued to score and that proved enough for a home victory at the finish.
Thursday, November 15, 2001