| Caja Laboral swept the season series from Maccabi Electra and moved into a share of the top spot in Group C with an 82-91 victory on Thursday night at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Mirza Teletovic had a career night, scoring a career-best 28 points on 8-for-14 three-point shooting to lead Laboral, which improved to 5-2 and will host Union Olimpija next week. Maccabi, which is also 5-2, travels to Moscow to face CSKA next week, which is also tied for the group lead. Teletovic helped Laboral pull away in the second quarter to take a 34-43 halftime lead, but Maccabi raced back to take a 50-49 lead in the third quarter. However triples from Teletovic and Carl English helped Laboral pull away again. The lead peaked at 15 in the fourth quarter and Maccabi’s late run was not enough. English went 6 for 11 from downtown for 18 points, while Stanko Barac and former Maccabi star Lior Eliyahu added 11 each for the winners. Chuck Eidson paced Maccabi with 19 points and 7 rebounds, Guy Pnini scored a career-high 18, Stephane Lasme posted 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks and D’Or Fischer added 10 points.
It was an electric beginning with both teams sprinting up and down the floor. Andrew Wisniewski got the hosts on the scoreboard first with a free throw before Teletovic drained a three-pointer. Eidson responded from downtown before English made it 4-6 with a three of his own. Eidson split the Laboral defense for a slam and then fed Fischer for a slam and a Maccabi lead. Eliyahu came on early to play alongside Teletovic, who drained his second three. English connected from behind the arc again to make it 8-12. The pace slowed as both teams started to run halfcourt plays. Lasme sank 2 free throws and followed that with a second chance basket to tie the score. Eliyahu scored on the offensive glass for his team’s first two-point basket. Alan Anderson fed Fischer for a two-handed alley-oop slam. English ht again from downtown, but Lasme converted a basket-plus-foul to keep the teams tied. Eliyahu did the same as Laboral took an 18-20 lead after 10 minutes.
Teletovic assisted Barac to start the second quarter. Teletovic was feeling it as he blocked Fischer at one end and sank a three at the other to make it a 7-point lead. David Bluthenthal responded with a high-arcing jumper. Barac scored from the line and Eliyahu scored and drew a foul from Eidson as the visitors made it 20-29. Fischer hit a jumper and Elyahu missed a dunk, but the momentum remained with Laboral as Teletovic scored on a put back. Fischer tapped in an Anderson miss and Pnini made a scoop shot, but Eliyahu kept the visitors rolling, first with 2 free throws and then with a dish to an open Barac for a jumper. Barac soon added a free throw to stretch the Laboral lead to double figures. Pau Ribas drained a long jumper s the fans in Tel Aviv sat speechless. Anderson ended the Maccabi drought with 2 free throws and Pnini followed with a three to give the fans hope, but Ribas answered with a triple of his own. Anderson added a free throw and neither team scored on their final possessions of the half to leave Laboral up 34-43 at halftime.
Fischer rose high to slam home a Lasme miss and Eidson fired in a three to bring the hosts back. Sean Singletary made a circus shot off the top of the backboard plus the resulting foul shot, but Eidson connected again from downtown to narrow the gap to 4. Teletovic answered with a triple, however Pnini matched him. A Laboral timeout did not dampen the Maccabi spirits as Wisniewski found Pnini open for his third three-pointer. Lasme blocked Teletovic at one end and sank 2 free throws at the other to give Maccabi its first lead since the opening minutes, 50-49. English drilled a three – his fourth of the night – and Tiago Splitter scored his first points of the night as Laboral started to climb back. Teletovic added another triple as the visitors rebuilt a sizeable lead. Lasme scored on the offensive glass, but then committed his third foul and took a seat on the bench. Maciej Lampe powered a layup in only to see Teletovic drain a deep three for an 8-point lead. Teletovic sank another three from the corner – his seventh. Doron Perkins scored down low, but Ribas matched him. A Perkins free throw made it 57-67 with 10 minutes remaining.
Perkins began the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and Teletovic missed threes on back-to-back possessions, but Splitter stepped up in the paint. Caja Laboral head coach Dusko Ivanovic put Stanko Barac in for Teletovic alongside Splitter, causing Maccabi to go big too. The move created space for the shooters and English took advantage to drain a three-pointer. Fernando San Emeterio did the same as the visitors’ lead reached a new peak, 60-75. Yaniv Green, in to guard Splitter, drew the fourth foul from the All-Euroleague center. Eidson then drew Spliter’s fifth foul. Free throws from Green and Eidson and soon a Wisniewski layup brought the hosts back within single figures. Eidson drilled a triple from the top of the key to cap a 9-0 run as Ivanovic called another timeout. Barac hit a baseline jumper to quiet the crowd. English fired in another crucial triple to make it 70-80 with three minutes remaining. Eidson scored on the offensive glass, but Barac made a pair of free throws. Anderson scored with an acrobatic layup and made the resulting free throw, but time was running out. A Teletovic triple with 1:41 remaining seemed to seal the result. Wisniewski quickly made a layup and Maccabi began fouling to stop the clock. Singletary missed twice from the line and Pnini willed in a three-pointer to get within 80-85 with 78 seconds to play. Wisniewski sent Singletary back to the line and he made only 1, but David Bluthenthal missed a long three at the other end. San Emeterio made a free throw with 48.5 seconds left and another 2 with 36.8 left as Laboral hung on for a major road win.
Thursday, December 10, 2009