2007-08Top 16Round 3
February 28, 2008 CET: 19:50
Local time: 20:50 NOKIA ARENA
Nikola Vujcic - Maccabi Elite Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv shot to the top Group F with a 94-75 win over Real Madrid on Thursday night at Nokia Arena. The Israeli champs matched the Spanish champs record at 2-1 at the midway point in the Top 16. With some of the best players in Maccabi history on hand after being honored in a pre-game celebration of 50 Years of European Club Basketball, Maccabi played one of its best games of the season, getting big numbers from its trio of big men, All-Euroleague center Nikola Vujcic, Terence Morris and Esteban Batista. Vujcic, among the Maccabi legends honored before tip-off, made his return from an injury layoff with 14 points and 5 assists in 18 minutes; Morris, who received his Euroleague Basketball January MVP award from Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu at halftime, posted 16 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocked shots; and Top 16, Week 2 MVP Esteban Batista continued his strong form with 14 points and 6 fouls drawn. Maccabi pulled away as Vujcic found his comfort zone in the second period, dishing to Will Bynum and Omri Casspi, while Bynum added a couple of three-pointers as the hosts took a 50-37 halftime lead. Madrid never got closer than 11 after that, as Maccabi continued to pass well (26 assists), shoot well (67.4% two-pointers, 46.7% three-pointers) and outrebound Madrid 36-25 to wrap up the victory. Bynum led all scorers with 22 points and 5 assists and Casspi added 10. Felipe Reyes led Madrid with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Louis Bullock scored 15, Axel Hervelle 13 and Kerem Tunceri finished with 11 points and 7 assists.

Maccabi won the opening tip and Vonteego Cummings went right inside, setting up Batista, who was fouled and then scored the game’s first points from the line. But Madrid immediately went on top when Tunceri drilled a three-pointer. Free throws by Reyes and an Hervelle slam in transition saw the visitors go up 2-7. Maccabi came back with a 9-0 charge of its own capped by a triple and layup by Morris. Reyes scored from close range, but Morris struck again, this time with a tip-in as Maccabi started to roll. Bullock put an end to that with a layup in transition and then a Blagota Sekulic slam tied it at 13-13. Vujcic, one of the Maccabi greats honored before the game, checked in to a round applause, but it was Madrid that capitalized, soon taking a narrow lead an a Bullock drive. But Bullock was soon whistled for his second foul and took a seat on the bench. Vujcic took up his spot in the paint and fed a cutting Bynum. The lead continued to flip flop with Hervelle drilling a triple, Alex Garcia scoring from the line. Lazaros Papadopoulos and Vujcic traded baskets on each other as the period expired with the hosts up 25-24.

Felipe Reyes - Real MadridBynum drilled a triple to start the second period and when Garcia spotted Vujcic open underneath to make it 30-24. Madrid got going through Alex Mumbru, but Bynum brought the sell-out crowd to its feet with another three-pointer and then Vujcic fed a cutting Casspi for a slam as the noise level went off the charts, 35-26. Hervelle scored inside but Garcia and Lior Eliyahu baskets in transition ensured the momentum remained with the hosts, who took their first double-digit lead. A Madrid timeout didn’t cool Maccabi off as Vujcic grabbed a rebound and passed downcourt to Bynum to make it 41-28. But then Vujcic picked up his third foul and took a seat on the bench. Bullock hit from the line and so did Mumbru, but before Madrid could make a run, Maccabi head coach Zvika Sherf called a time out and before long a Batista slam made it 46-31. Tunceri answered from downtown and after Eliyahu scored from the charity stripe, Bullock also hit from long range, but Casspi caped the half with a drive that made it 50-37.

Reyes scored to open the second half, but Casspi soon matched him. It took the players a few minutes to regain the exciting pace of the first half and it was Maccabi that found its legs first as Batista and Bynum increased the lead to 17. Mumbru stepped up with a three-pointer and Reyes answered a Bynum drive with a bucket, but the Maccabi attack continued generating points almost at will. Bullock continued to battle and hit from outside, but he had little help and when Bynum answered with a triple of his own, the hosts were up 65-48. Yotam Halperin stretched it even further with a three, but Hervelle scored from the line, However a Vujcic score ended the third period as Maccabi took it biggest lead, 70-50.

Terence Morris - Maccabi ElitePapadopoulos opened the last 10 minutes with a hook shot and Charles Smith started to heat up with a chippie and a triple as Madrid showed signs of a comeback. But a high-flying Morris tip-in, a Vujcic block on Smith and a Garcia bucket restored the 20-point margin. Tunceri hit a three-pointer, but Vujcic made sure Maccabi and its fans would stay hot with a highlight film alley-oop pass for a one-handed Morris slam, leading to another Madrid timeout. Reyes would try to answer with a three-point play, but Maccabi had none of it Morris fed Vujcic inside. With three-and-a-half minutes remaining, Vujcic came off to a standing ovation. Madrid tried to press as the score difference could still come back to play a factor in the group and Hervelle cut the difference to 15 from the line and Bullock got it even lower before Morris drilled a three and then Batista threw down a two-handed slam to put Maccabi up 19. Papadopoulos scored on the offensive glass, but Bynum had the last laugh as Maccabi wrapped up a big win.

Thursday, February 28, 2008
Frankie Sachs, Tel Aviv
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Referees: KOUKOULEKIDIS, STELIOS (GRE), PUKL,SASA (SLO), CICORIA, GIANPAOLO (ITA)
Attendance: 10500
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite25252024
Real Madrid24131325
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite25507094
Real Madrid24375075
Maccabi Elite
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 BYNUM, WILL 25:54 22 5/6 4/5   1 1 2 5 1 3     2 2 25
6 SHARP, DERRICK 3:21                   1         -1
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 17:54 14 7/9       2 2 5 1 1     5   14
8 ELIYAHU, LIOR 7:13 4 1/1   2/2   4 4     1     1 1 7
9 MORRIS, TERENCE 32:47 16 5/7 2/5   3 12 15 2   1 2   2 2 29
10 FANAN, REGEV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 CASSPI, OMRI 24:19 10 4/8 0/1 2/2   4 4 3 2 1   1 4 3 11
12 GARCIA, ALEX 18:44 6 2/3 0/1 2/4 2   2 4         3 3 8
13 BLU, DAVID 6:18   0/1       1 1     1     2   -3
14 CUMMINGS, VONTEEGO 14:34 2 0/1 0/1 2/2       2   1     3 1 -1
15 BATISTA, ESTEBAN 21:38 14 5/7   4/5   1 1 1 2 2   1 4 6 14
21 HALPERIN, YOTAM 27:18 6   1/2 3/4   4 4 4 1 3     1 2 11
Team             1 1   5           6
Totals 200:00 94 29/43 7/15 15/19 6 30 36 26 12 15 2 2 27 20 120
        67.4% 46.7% 78.9%
Head coach: SHERF, ZVI
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
Real Madrid
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 PELEKANOS, MICHALIS 3:48     0/1         1              
7 SMITH, CHARLES 27:50 5 1/7 1/6     2 2 3 2   1 1 2 2 1
8 SEKULIC, BLAGOTA 6:55 2 1/2             1         2 4
9 REYES, FELIPE 20:11 16 5/6   6/9   2 2 1 2 1     5 10 21
12 BOGDANOVIC, BOJAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 PAPADOPOULOS, LAZAROS 22:43 7 3/3   1/4 3 1 4 2 1   1   1 4 15
15 MUMBRU, ALEX 14:35 5 1/1 1/3     3 3 2   3     4   1
17 HERVELLE, AXEL 30:11 13 3/6 1/2 4/6 4 4 8 2 2     1 2 3 19
18 ITURBE, IKER DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 TUNCERI, KEREM 36:10 11 0/1 3/7 2/2   2 2 7 1 2     2 1 13
22 BULLOCK, LOUIS 28:08 15 3/6 2/6 3/4   1 1   2 4     2 5 9
23 LLULL, SERGIO 9:29 1 0/1 0/1 1/2           1     2 1 -4
Team           1 2 3   4 1         6
Totals 200:00 75 17/33 8/26 17/27 8 17 25 18 15 12 2 2 20 28 85
        51.5% 30.8% 63%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN

Head Coaches

SHERF, ZVI
Maccabi Elite
"I want to thank and congratulate my players for their great game today, following tactics and fighting. I want to thank the fans for the great atmosphere here tonight. Together we beat the team that leads the Spanish League, the best league in Europe. We were a lot better from the second period, no doubt about it both on offense and defense. Despite the happiness, we cant get out of proportion, just like we didn’t last week when we lost. We have to remain modest and prepare for Olympiacos next week, which will be a completely different game, slower and more physical. I’m glad this game gave Nikola some confidence. Will had an outstanding game, so did Omri and Terence. Lior played well too. Every player that took the floor played great. During the pre-game ceremony, I told Omri and Lior that all the great players who were honored, except for Tani Cohen-Mintz and Tal Brody, I coached. They didn’t believe me."
PLAZA, JOAN
Real Madrid
"It's true that we didn’t have a good day. It's probably true that Maccabi played with big intensity because they lost by 19 points in Kaunas, the same as we did tonight. Also we shot poorly from two-points and three-points and they rebounded better. No excuses, Maccabi was better today. We are on top of the group like Maccabi with two victories and will try to be more consistent from here, especially on the road. We need to concentrate on our next game, first in Spain and then against Kaunas. Charles Smith is human too and today he had a bad game, probably because Maccabi also played good defense. Sometimes great shooters have a bad day, but we didn’t lose because of him, we lost as a team."

Players

VUJCIC, NIKOLA
Maccabi Elite
"I didn't believe I'd come back like that, but we did believe we could beat Real like that. We feel good playing at Nokia Arena in front of our fans, after more than a month on the road. We need to stay focused now and must win also next week or this win will mean nothing."
HALPERIN, YOTAM
Maccabi Elite
"We're very happy to get this win. We needed to win big because in this group any point can matter in the end. Our fans pushed us for 40 minutes and didn't allow Real to come back even when they had a chance. I want to thank our fans, because they showed us what it's like to play here again, after we were on the road for so long. Every player that played today gave all he has and that's the way we need to play in every game."
REYES, FELIPE
Real Madrid
"It wasn't a good game for us. We allowed Maccabi to run, they got many points in the fast break and killed us in the pick-and-roll. We should have played much better on defense and we paid for that. I think the only good thing from this game is that we lost by only 19 points, because it could have been a 30-point difference game."
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