Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv advanced to the Quarterfinal Playoffs and took an instant classic in Group F by edging Real Madrid 100-103 in overtime in the Spanish capital on Thursday night. Both teams join a three-way tie with Olympiacos for first place in Group F, each with a 3-2 record. Maccabi will win Group F - getting the home court advantage and avoiding Group G CSKA Moscow in the next round - if it beats Zalgiris next week. Meanwhile, Real Madrid has a do-or-die, winner-take-all game against Olympiacos next week. Terence Morris led the winners with 23 points on 4-for-5 three-pointers and 13 rebounds. Yotam Halperin and Nikola Vujcic each added 13 points while Esteban Batista got 10 for Maccabi. Felipe Reyes led Madrid with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Axel Hervelle also posted a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds, Louis Bullock added 17 points and 7 assists, Raul Lopez had 13 points while Charles Smith got 12 for yhe hosts, that led 58-45 right after the break. Halperin and an outstanding Vujcic led Maccabi's rally and gave the guests a 70-71 edge after 30 minutes. It all came down to the final 2 minutes of regulation, as three-pointers by Morris and Halperin allowed Maccabi to force overtime, 89-89. Derrick Sharp became the game hero by hitting 6-for-6 free throws in the final 23 seconds to win the game for Maccabi. Euroleague Basketball honoured Real Madrid and its legends in a short, emotional pre-game ceremony as part of the 50 Years of European Club Basketball celebration.
Kerem Tunceri got Madrid going with an seven-meter bomb but Vujcic scored inside for a 3-2 Maccabi deficit. Hervelle buried another long three-pointer and soon added a free throw for a 7-2 Madrid lead. Will Bynum shined with a driving basket but Bullock fed Hervelle for another easy basket. Vujcic sank free throws, as Maccabi started to dominate the defensive board. Alex Mumbru took over with a three-point play but Morris stepped up with a put-back layup and Vonteego Cummings added a fast break basket for a 12-10 Maccabi deficit. Hervelle kept pacing Madrid with a layup that Omri Casspi erased with free throws. Morris buried a triple to give Maccabi its first lead, 14-15. Hervelle - who else? - answered from downtown while Mumbru added another basket for a 19-15 Madrid lead. Casspi kept pacing Maccabi and Batista added a power layup but free throws by Mumbru and Reyes kept Madrid ahead, 23-19, after 10 minutes.
Madrid improved its defense early in the second quarter while Reyes banked in a jumper for a 25-19 lead. Halperin found his first points on a mid-range jumper that Hervelle erased with a fast break layup. Alex Garcia shined with a layup-plus-foul and even when Reyes scored again, David Bluthenthal answered from downtown to get Maccabi within 27-26. Lopez followed his trademark running jumper with a long two-pointer but Garcia sank a shot from the right corner to make Madrid call timeout at 33-29. Reyes hit a close jumper while Madrid added free throws but Halperin buried a triple to keep Maccabi close, 37-32. Lior Eliyahu beat the shot clock with a driving layup but Michalis Pelekanos answered with a dunk-plus-foul for a 40-34 Madrid edge. Vujcic took over with a power basket but Charles Smith immediately answered with a dunk. Hervelle made free throws that Bluthenthal erased with a put-back layup. Free throws by Smith and Morris fixed the halftime score at 46-40.
Reyes scored in the paint right after the break and soon added a free throw for a 49-40 Madrid lead. Bynum fed Bluthenthal for a wide open triple but Bullock immediately answered from downtown while Reyes gave Madrid its first double-digit margin, 53-43. Batista shined with a put-back basket that Lopez matched with a floating layup. Bullock sank his second three-pointer to make Maccabi call timeout at 58-45. Bynum tried to ignit the guests' comeback with a layup that Vujcic followed with an easy basket to bring Maccabi within 58-50. Lopez buried a three-pointer and Hervelle added free throws but Halperin took over with a bomb from downtown. Lopez kept pacing Madrid with foul shots that Morris bettered with a three-point play. Bullock and Halperin traded triples while Morris provided a highlight with an alleyoop dunk. Vujcic and Bynum capped a 0-11 run with consecutive three-pointer to bring the guests back to life, 68-67. Reyes stepped up with a put-back layup but a free throw by Halperin and a buzzer-beating triple by Vujcic completed the guests' comeback, 70-71, after 30 minutes.
Smith fired in a corner three-pointer to make Madrid regain the lead, 73-71, early in the fourth quarter. Vujcic shined again with a tip-in and fed Bynum for a reverse layup for a 73-75 Maccabi lead. Bullock sank his fourth triple and Madrid improved its defense right when it mattered. Reyes scored in the low post off a Maccabi timeout for a 78-75 Madrid edge with 6 minutes to go. Garcia made a free throw while Halperin silenced the crowd with a jumper that tied the game, 78-78. Morris also struck from downtown to put Maccabi back ahead, 78-81, after a 0-6 run. Reyes hit free throws that Morris erased with a close jumper. Bullock and Mumbru did not miss from the foul line for a 84-83 Madrid lead with 2:15 remaining. Maccabi could not score in a four-chance possession while Reyes scored in the paint to give Madrid a 86-83 edge. Morris tied the game with a key three-pointer but Hervelle answered from downtown for a 89-86 Madrid edge with 26.8 seconds to go. Halperin tied the game with an incredible triple with 5 seconds remaining. Madrid called timeout but Lopez missed an off-balanced shot at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
Halperin kept pacing Maccabi with a driving layup early in the extra period while Batista added a put-back dunk for a 89-93 Maccabi edge. Madrid could not score right when it needed it most but Smith rescued the hosts with a corner three-pointer. Hervelle had a huge block on Batista that allowed Smith to score in the end for a 94-93 Madrid edge with 2 minutes to go. Morris buried a wide open triple while Batista added a free throw for a 94-97 Maccabi lead. Bullock made free throws with 48 seconds remaining. Vujcic and Smith missed respective shots while Derrick Sharp and Bullock traded free throws for a 98-99 score with 13.8 seconds to go. Sharp returned to the foul line to hit both attempts while Tunceri copied him for a 100-101 Madrid deficit with 7.2 seconds to go. Madrid fouled on Sharp, who did not miss with 6.2 seconds reamining, 100-103, while Tunceri missed a desperation three-point shot at the buzzer.
Thursday, March 13, 2008