Logan lifts Maccabi to key win in Vitoria
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv outlasted Caja Laboral Vitoria in a Group F thriller 62-66 Thursday night at Fernando Buesa Arena to storm back into the playoff hunt. Maccabi won back-to-back games for the first time in the Top 16 to improve to 4-5, while handing Vitoria its fifth straight loss and knocking Coach Zan Tabak’s side to 4-5. Maccabi, which lost by 1 to Laboral at home in the closing seconds in January, also took the tiebreak advantage between the two. The game was full of drama and included five ties and five lead changes in the fourth quarter alone, the last coming on a David Logan three-pointer with 24.7 seconds remaining. Logan also nailed a pair of free throws with 11 seconds to go to seal a vital victory. Devin Smith paced the Israeli champs with 20 points, Logan finished with 16, Shawn James tallied 11 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks and Ricky Hickman added 10 points. Maciej Lampe led the hosts with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Fernando San Emeterio added 11 points and Thomas Heurtel amassed 9 points and 7 assists in defeat.
First quarter: Poor shooting keeps scores low early
Yogev Ohayon delivered to Smith, who opened the game with a dunk. Heurtel dropped in a floater for Vitoria’s first basket. Points were hard to come by as Maccabi forced turnovers on defense and was ice cold from the perimeter on the attack. Lampe hit a long jumper and then completed an alley-oop layup via Heurtel as the hosts moved ahead 6-2. Logan, the game’s first substitution in place of Ohayon, came in and scored twice in transition to break the Maccabi drought. James made a contested baby hook over Lampe as Maccabi moved ahead 6-8. Guy Pnini hit a three-pointer – the game’s first after 13 missed by both teams. Heurtel’s backdoor cut for a slam kept the hosts within one shot before Nemanja Bjelica dunked to make it 10-11 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Caja Laboral’s late spurt gives hosts slim lead
Tibor Pleiss put Vitoria ahead on one side and rejected Darko Planinic at the other. After San Emeterio’s first basket for the hosts, Smith tied the game at 14-14, before a slam by James put Maccabi ahead. Omar Cook drilled a triple as Vitoria went ahead again, however Smith, who was fouled shooting behind the arc, sank 3 free throws and Logan fired in a long triple to make it 17-22 midway through the quarter. San Emeterio and Fabien Causeur nailed threes on either side of a TV timeout to put the hosts ahead once more. Ohayon crashed the boards for a three-point play as the lead continued to switch hands. Lampe knotted the score at 26-26 with a pair of free throws. San Emeterio drove into the paint for a layup and Causeur fired in a three on the break as the hosts got the crowd rocking. After a Maccabi timeout, Smith worked his way for a floater that left things 31-28 at halftime.
Third quarter: Lampe keeps hosts ahead
Heurtel fed Milko Bjelica for a slam and Lampe lofted a jumper to give Laboral the game’s largest lead yet, 7 points. James dunked at the other end. Hickman penetrated for his first points to keep Maccabi close. Smith closed the gap to 36-34 before Heurtel spotted Andres Nocioni for an easy bucket. James scored again and Smith went inside as the deficit shrunk to 1. Milko Bjelica boosted the lead to 3 and Smith erased that with a three-pointer that knotted the game at 41-41. Milko Bjelica fed Lampe inside before Pnini matched him with a finger roll. Lampe put the hosts back in front with free throws and a slam for a 47-43 lead through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Logan steps up for Maccabi in final minute
Logan took over on a broken play to close the gap to 2 before James fought through Pleiss for a basket-plus-foul, which tied and then put Maccabi on top 47-48. Logan added to the lead with a steal and free throws. San Emeterio beat the shot-clock buzzer with a triple to tie the score. Nemanja Bjelica struck from downtown as the hosts went up. Smith on one end and Lampe on the other made spectacular blocks before Hickman netted free throws to tie it again, 53-53. Smith nailed a three from the corner to put the visitors on top once more. Heurtel nailed a three, while Pnini fouled Lampe off the ball. Vitoria too advantage of the extra possession as Lampe took a brilliant pass from Heurtel to make it 58-56. The drama continued as Hickman tied it and Heurtel set up Lampe for another basket. A Heurtel floater put the hosts up 62-59 with two minutes to play. Hickman attacked the basket, had his shot blocked by Nocioni, but recovered the ball and scored. James fought for a big rebound and then Logan put Maccabi up 62-64 with a triple, 62-64, with 24.7 seconds remaining. Heurtel took a three from the top of the key, but missed and after a scrum for the loose rebound, the referees whistled a tie-ball, the possession arrow presented the ball to Maccabi. Vitoria sent Logan to the line and he sank 2 with 11 seconds remaining to ice the win. San Emeterio missed a three in the final seconds and Maccabi celebrated a big win.
Thursday, February 28, 2013