Pargo leads Maccabi past Barcelona
Reigning champion Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv snapped an eight-game losing streak to FC Barcelona in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 dating back to 2009 in knocking off the Spanish giants 70-68 at home in a Group E slugfest. Jeremy Pargo collected 20 points, seven assists and the game-winning free throws with 2.4 seconds left as Maccabi won its 500th Euroleague level game in its 800th contest in Europe’s top competition. Devin Smith chipped in 15 points, five rebounds and a huge block with three seconds to play while Sofoklis Schortanitis had 11 points and nine rebounds and Brian Randle picked up 10 points and eight rebounds in helping Maccabi to improve to 2-1 in the group. Barcelona dropped to 1-2 in the group despite 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks from Ante Tomic as the only Barcelona player in double figures. Alex Abrines scored eight points and Mario Hezonja picked up seven points, three rebounds and two assists off the bench.
First quarter: Tomic eight points not enough to keep Barcelona ahead
Maccabi coach Guy Goodes kept the same starting five with Yogev Ohayon, Pargo, Randle, Smith and Schortanitis. Xavi Pascual made one change to his lineup as Tibor Pleiss made his first start in place of Tomic – after not playing last week – alongside Marcelinho Huertas, Edwin Jackson, Justin Doellman and Deshaun Thomas. Pleiss started the game with a jumper and Schortanitis followed at the other end with a hook. Maccabi really tried to go inside to Schortanitis, but the hosts managed only the one basket in the first two minutes. Smith and Schortanitis both made two free throws to increase the lead to 6-2. With Schortanitis going out, Tomic replaced Pleiss and Heuertas raced past his man for a driving layup. After a Randle layup, Tomic scored inside and hit a jumper to knot the contest at 8-8. Two Tomic free throws gave Barcelona the lead 8-10. Pargo’s basket after a nice move finally got Maccabi back on the board after 3:45 minutes without a point. Tomic pushed his point total to eight points in putting Barcelona back ahead 10-12. But Ohayon answered at the other end with a three-pointer and Pargo’s two free throws had Maccabi up 15-12. Maciej Lampe trimmed it to 15-13 with one free throw.
2nd quarter: Schortanitis too much inside, Smith strong from long range
Joe Alexander scored his first points in the Euroleague with a layup after a pass from Pargo and th en the new man hit a jumper to push the Maccabi lead to 19-13. Barcelona finally scored more than two minutes into the quarter with Doellman hitting a left corner three to trim it to 19-16 – the guests’ first three-pointer of the game. Abrines didn’t wait long for Barcelona’s second trey to make it 21-19. Schortanitis got out on the break for a layup but missed the free throw as Maccabi was up 23-19. But Hezonja nailed Barcelona’s next three-ball to bring the team to within 23-22. Despite the Barcelona big men blocking a number of shots already, Schortanitis went up strong for a dunk over Pleiss and converted the three-point play to make it 26-22. Smith followed with a wide-open three-ball from the left side for a 29-22 lead – and a Barcelona time out. Jackson stopped the run with a jumper and Bostjan Nachbar also hit a jumper but the Spanish side could not get stops as Schortanitis scored inside and Randle put back an offensive rebound before another Smith triple from the left side for a 36-26 Maccabi advantage. Jackson’s two free throws cut the deficit to 36-28 at the break.
3rd quarter: Maccabi push lead to 11 points, up six after 30 minutes
Randle’s free throw started the second half and Ohayon’s layup pushed the lead to 39-28 – the biggest advantage in the game. Tomic answered with a foul shot and Abrines nailed a triple before two Tomic free throws made it 40-34. Pargo was able to hit a really long three-pointer for a 43-34 lead. But Barcelona began using its pick-and-roll offense better with Heurtas hitting a runner in the lane and Pleiss laying in to trim the margin to 43-38. Doellman’s jumper cut it to 43-41 before Pargo stepped up to snap a 3:25-minute scoreless stretch with a tough layup. Pargo scored two more baskets in the lane to keep Maccabi ahead 49-45. Tomas Satoransky trimmed it to 49-47 but Marquez Haynes made a free throws and Nate Linhart finished the third quarter with a three-pointer at the buzzer off the glass for a 53-47 advantage.
4th quarter: Maccabi use 11-0 run to pull ahead, hold on
Thomas opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a layup before Randle’s two foul shots to make it 55-49. But Tomic made two free throws, Nachbar drained a three-ball and Tomic hit a reverse layup to push Barcelona ahead 55-56 – the guests’ first lead since 10-12. Smith answered with a three-pointer and Pargo’s acrobatic layup and free throw made it 61-56. Barcelona could not score after the time out and Smith made two free throws and then Randle converted a tough layup on the break and free throw for a 66-56 lead – and an 11-0 run. Lampe’s jump hook ended the four-minute scoreless stretch to make it 66-58 with four minutes left. Tomic’s two free throws cut it to 66-60 with 1:50 minutes left. After Schortanitis missed two free throws, Hezonja knocked down a jumper to make it 66-62 with 69 seconds remaining – and a Maccabi time out. After two Smith free throws, Tomic hit a fine lefty layup and then Hezonja stole a pass from Ohayon and threw down a dunk to pull within 68-66 with 19 seconds left. Smith turned the ball over but came back to block Lampe with three seconds left. Pargo made both free throws with 2.4 seconds left to ice the game though Abrines was fouled with 0.4 seconds remaining and made two free throws.
Thursday, January 15, 2015