Regular Season Round 6 - November 30, 2006 CET: 19:45 Local time: 20:45 - NOKIA ARENA

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
3-2 Overall 1-4

Referees

Crew Chief
ZAVLANOS, NIKOLAOS, Greece
Referee
JOVCIC, MILIVOJE, Serbia
Umpire
MATTIOLI, GIANLUCA, Italy

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
89.8 Points 66.8
34.6 Rebounds 29.2
9.4 O. Rebounds 9.8
25.2 D. Rebounds 19.4
15.4 Assists 9.2
12.0 Steals 8.8
1.8 Blocks 1.8
13.6 Turnovers 14.8
52.5 % 2PT 48.6 %
38.8 % 3PT 34.0 %
82.9 % FT 64.4 %
101.2 Index 60.0

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
15.0 / BYNUM, W. Points 14.2 / Rannikko
8.0 / VUJCIC, NIKOLA Rebounds 6.0 / MILIC, MARKO
2.2 / Eliyahu OR 2.6 / MILIC, MARKO
6.2 / VUJCIC, NIKOLA DR 3.4 / MILIC, MARKO
4.0 / VUJCIC, NIKOLA Assists 2.8 / Rannikko
1.8 / Eliyahu Steals 2.2 / MILIC, MARKO
0.6 / VUJCIC, NIKOLA Blocks 1.0 / RIZVIC, HASAN
3.8 / BYNUM, W. Turnovers 3.0 / MILIC, MARKO
77.8 % / Jasaitis 2PT 64.7 % / RIZVIC, HASAN
76.9 % / SHARP, DERRICK 3PT 50.0 % / JURKOVIC, IVICA
100.0 % / Halperin FT 79.3 % / Rannikko
18.6 / VUJCIC, NIKOLA Index 13.2 / MILIC, MARKO

THE TAKE

Maccabi Elite returns to the comfy confines of Nokia Arena to host Union Olimpija Ljubljana in a Group B contest on Thursday night in Tel Aviv, Israel. Maccabi (3-2) has now won 11 straight games at home, but has lost three in a row and six out of eight on the road. Last week, Maccabi went down 87-82 at Cibona in a game that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate. The bright spot for coach Neven Spahija was the play of reserves Yaniv Green and Derrick Sharp and rookie starter Lior Eliyahu in the team's late comeback attempt. Olimpija (1-4), winless in three previous trips to Tel Aviv, suffered its third straight defeat last week to Partizan, 70-71, in a home game that went down to the last seconds. Teemu Rannikko, who gave Olimpija a lead from the free throw line with 7 seconds to go, was named the Week 5 MVP for his stellar performance, which included 26 points, 3 assists, 3 steals and 10 fouls drawn. Rannikko has found his stride just in time to go up against his backcourt mate of last season, Yotam Halperin. The two combo-guards split scoring and playmaking duties as they guided the club to the Slovenian title last year, but Halperin decided to return to his boyhood club this season, leaving Rannikko alone in the spotlight. He has thrived in that role, averaging 14.2 points and 2.8 assists. He should get help for the first time this week from Halperin's replacement, Ender Arslan, who was injured to start the season, but debuted for Olimpija in limited minutes last week. Halperin, meanwhile, is still adjusting in his return to Maccabi, averaging 5.2 points and 2.6 assists. Maccabi's leader this year has been All-Euroleague center Nikola Vujcic (13 ppg., 8 rpg., 4 apg.), who has shared responsibilities with forwards Eliyahu (12.8 ppg., 6.4 rpg.) and Simas Jasaitis (13.2 ppg.), point guard Will Bynum (15 ppg.) and sixth man Jamie Arnold (11 ppg.). Marko Milic (11.6 ppg., 6 rpg., 2.2 spg.) has been the heart and soul for Olimpija, sparking players like Manuchar Markoishvili (8.4 ppg.) and Ivica Jurkovic (8.7 ppg.) to carry the team forward. The key to the game could be at center, where Hasan Rizvic will need to keep Vujcic in check without help from Saulius Kuzminskas, who was injured with a blow to the head against Partizan and will miss this game. The pressure sits on the favored Maccabi, which needs a victory to avoid its worst start in four seasons.
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

SPAHIJA, NEVEN
Maccabi Elite
"Like all teams from the Adriatic league, I think Olimpija is a good team. The clubs from that league have made very good results so far in the Euroleague and showed they can excel at this level. Maybe it surprised a few people but it's not a surprise for me. I know Olimpija were having some problems recently: they have changed coaches and now their coach is my ex-assistant from Lietuvos Rytas, so it's going to be interesting. We understand what we did wrong in Zagreb. We practiced hard last week and we are 100 percent ready for this game. We won't let them surprise us. We respect them but Maccabi must win at home. Our starting five is too young and sometimes it seems like we play on the road without confidence, but in Nokia Arena we must win this game, and that will help us make it to the Top16."
OKORN, GASPER
Union Olimpija
"A difficult game against one of the best teams in all of Euroleague history awaits us. We know that it's difficult to play in Tel Aviv, where Nokia Arena is always full until the last seat. Maccabi is capable of beating a rival with just five minutes of good play - aggressive defense and accurate offense. Even though their team didn't show at the start of this season the same playing level as in recent years, this is a team to respect totally because on their own court they don't let opponents breath. I'll be happy to see Neven Spahija. Last year when we both coached at Lietuvos Rytas, we beat Maccabi in Tel Aviv."

Players

HALPERIN, YOTAM
Maccabi Elite
"It's exciting for me to play against my team from last season. I know many of the guys on that team, and of course it's great fun to see them again. Olimpija helped me a lot, and now I hope I'll be able to bring it to the court with Maccabi. We must get back on the winning track and gain confidence again after last week. Playing in front of our amazing fans is a perfect opportunity to collect another W, and we must not think about any other option but winning. Olimpija is a very dangerous team, because they always have the weapons to hit you, and if you underestimate them, you can be in a bad situation."
ARSLAN, ENDER
Union Olimpija
"Maccabi is still one of the best teams in Europe. Even though they lost some important players from last season, you have to respect them when they play at home. From Nokia Arena, very few teams have left as winners. We are preparing ourselves well for the game, we have fewer injury problems than in recent weeks, so we'll travel to Tel Aviv with hopes of playing a good game. We have to be very attentive in defense and play relaxed on offense."
Nikola Vujcic - Maccabi Elite Nikola Vujcic was at his best on Thursday as Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv stretched its home-court winning streak to 12 with a 110-87 win over Union Olimpija Ljubljana at Nokia Arena in Israel. Vujcic recorded his second career triple-double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing 10 assists for Maccabi, which improved to 4-2 in Group B this season. Olimpija, which arrived in Israel only 8 hours before the game due to problems at the airport, fell to 1-5. Sharon Shason came off the bench for a career-high 19 and Jamie Arnold, starting in place of Lior Eliyahu, finished with 12 points and 14 boards. Will Bynum, Yotam Halperin and Simas Jasaitas had 12 each as well. Marko Milic led Olimpija with a career-best 23 points and 6 assists, Ender Arslan added 14, Domen Lorbek 11 and Manuchar Markoishvili and Teemu Rannikko finished with 10 apiece. The visitors remained in the picture throughout the first half, thanks to inspired play from Milic, but Maccabi opened the third quarter with a 17-3 run and ran away from that point.

Olimpija won the opening tip and scored first behind Milic, but the game needed to be stopped immediately for a few seconds as Maccabi fans lit a flare and threw streams of paper onto the court. The hosts quickly got on the board as Vujcic fed Arnold for a slam and then Simas Jasaitas drilled a triple. Milic answered for the visitors, who were showing plenty of spirit. Vujcic was masterful, running the show from the top of the key and setting up Jasaitas and Halperin for easy baskets, but Rannikko's three-point shooting and Milic's drives to the basket kept the score even at 18-18. Markoishvili scored to put the visitors on top and then Jasaitas was whistled for his third foul – an unsportsmanlike foul on Milic – which Olimpija used to take a 20-25 lead. Free throws from Vujcic and Shason for Maccabi and one from Markoishvili ended the period with the guests up 24-26.

Vujcic opened the second period with a pair from the line after grabbing and offensive rebound and drawing Milic's first foul. Shason fed Vujcic for a slam on the break to return the lead to Maccabi. Eliyahu made pretty layup and dropped in a jumper, but Arslan's three kept Olimpija within 1. After a Vujcic hook, Milic, who was carrying Olimpija on his back, scored again, but Vujcic remained Maccabi's main man with a triple. Tel Aviv coach Neven Spahija received a technical foul for arguing a call, but even that didn't change the momentum as Shason drilled one from downtown for a 39-34 Maccabi lead midway through the period. The hosts' lead got as big as 9 on Vujcic free throws and Olimpija was faced with center trouble when Hasan Rizvic was called for his fourth foul. Markoishvili got three the hard way to cut the gap to 46-40, but he too fell into foul trouble and went out. Vujcic popped a three and then Will Bynum fed the big guy for a slam on the break to push the lead to 10 for the first time and that's the way it remained at halftime, with Maccabi leading 53-43.

Marko Milic - Union OlimpijaMaccabi came out firing, as Shason drilled a triple and Bynum added a steal and score before Rannikko got Olimpija on the board with a three. Vujcic made a hook as the lead continued to grow and he passed to Shason to bring the Maccabi advantage to 20. A Milic slam put an end to a 17-3 Maccabi run that Vujcic paced with 4 points and 4 assists. Spahija gave Vujcic a rest, but Arnold and Halperin pushed the lead to 76-48 before Rizvic scored on the offensive glass. But a Bynum three followed by an Arnold bank shot put the hosts up 31. Maccabi fans started doing the wave as Noel Felix made his first Euroleague appearance in front of the home fans. Lorbek's free throws ended the quarter with Maccabi outscoring Olimpija 28-9 to take a 81-52 lead after 30 minutes.

Felix got on the board with a short jumper and showed his enthusiasm with a goal-tending call on a Ivica Jurkovic drive. Lorbek put up a triple, but Jasaitas matched it. Bynum made it 91-57, but Jurkovic came right back to the basket. Maccabi wasn't done yet as a Green slam took the advantage to 35. Milic drove for two more before Derrick Sharp threw Felix an alley-oop slam as the final minutes turned into a highlight reel. Green took Maccabi over the 100-point mark with a free throw and al that was left to see was whether Vujcic would grab the rebound he needed to complete his second career triple-double. He did and left to a standing ovation as Maccabi celebrated another home victory.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Frankie Sachs, Euroleague.net
Referees: ZAVLANOS, NIKOLAOS (GRE), JOVCIC, MILIVOJE (SRB), MATTIOLI, GIANLUCA (ITA)
Attendance: 10500
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite24292829
Union Olimpija2617935
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite245381110
Union Olimpija26435287
Head coach: SPAHIJA, NEVEN
Maccabi Elite
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 BYNUM, WILL 26:45 12 3/4 1/2 3/5       4 2 3     4 4 11
5 FELIX, NOEL 11:30 4 2/4   0/2   2 2 1   1 1   4 2 1
6 SHARP, DERRICK 20:15 3   1/4     3 3 2   1     3 1 2
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 26:15 27 8/13 1/1 8/8 2 8 10 10 1 1       4 46
8 ELIYAHU, LIOR 11:00 6 2/2 0/1 2/2   3 3 1   1       1 9
9 ARNOLD, JAMIE 17:30 12 5/6 0/1 2/2 4 10 14 1   2   1 2 3 23
11 SHASON, SHARON 21:15 19 4/5 2/6 5/6 2 3 5 2   1     2 3 20
12 FANAN, REGEV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 JASAITIS, SIMAS 18:45 12 1/2 3/3 1/2 1   1   1       3 1 10
14 GREEN, YANIV 13:30 3 1/2   1/2 1 3 4 2     2   3 1 7
15 BUFORD, RODNEY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 HALPERIN, YOTAM 33:15 12 4/6 1/2 1/1   1 1 1   1     3 2 9
Team             1 1   3       1 1 4
Totals 200:00 110 30/44 9/20 23/30 10 34 44 24 7 11 3 1 25 23 142
68.2% 45% 76.7%
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
Head coach: OKORN, GASPER
Union Olimpija
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 ARSLAN, ENDER 21:00 14 0/2 4/9 2/2   1 1 2   1   1 1 1 8
5 LORBEK, KLEMEN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 RIZVIC, HASAN 21:15 4 2/5     3 2 5 2 1   1   4 1 7
9 RANNIKKO, TEEMU 27:45 10   3/8 1/2   1 1 5 1 3     3 1 6
10 HOHLER, DEJAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 MARKOISHVILI, MANUCHAR 30:45 10 4/8 0/7 2/4 1 3 4 1 1       3 4 4
12 MILIC, MARKO 35:45 23 9/13 0/1 5/10 1 3 4 6   2   1 4 7 23
13 JURKOVIC, IVICA 22:45 9 3/4 0/5 3/4 2 3 5 1 2       4 4 10
21 CEBULAR, SANDI 9:00 6 1/1 1/2 1/2         1       2 1 4
23 LORBEK, DOMEN 31:45 11 2/6 1/3 4/5 2 1 3 1 1 1   1 2 5 10
Team           3 4 7   4         1 12
Totals 200:00 87 21/39 9/35 18/29 12 18 30 18 11 7 1 3 23 25 84
53.8% 25.7% 62.1%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

SPAHIJA, NEVEN
Maccabi Elite
“Today we played excellent second and third quarters. I cannot comment on the fourth quarter, because I could not calla timeout and stop the game. This team came here on game day and I appreciate that they played. Some of our players didn't play like i want in the last 10 minutes. I congratulate my team, but we cannot celebrate. My team was prepared for Milic, I do not know why they didn't folow the game plan. They knew he shoots 47% free throws and we go 5-6 deep at his position, but they didn't foul him. Jamie played excellent third quarter on offense and defense. Felix has a lot of talent, but he must prove he can play in Europe because we play totally different than in NBA. You don't need my opinion, Nikola was selected the best big man in Europe last two years. I'm very happy with him.”
OKORN, GASPER
Union Olimpija
“Congratulation to Maccabi and coach Spahija. Maccabi was better opponent. We played good for 19 minutes, but totally collapsed and by the fourth quarter the question was whether we would lose by 40 or 50. That's the difference in quality. We were missing big men and can't go to head-to-head with Maccabi for 40 minutes. You have to have three players to try to stop Nikola Vujcic.”

Players

ELIYAHU, LIOR
Maccabi Elite
"We weren't ready in the first quarter. We are professionals and we got ready for this game, and the delay of Olimpija didn't affect us. We have a wide bench with 13 players that can play, but we still need know how to execute it on the road."
VUJCIC, NIKOLA
Maccabi Elite
"We didn't start well on defense, I don't know what happened. We didn't execute almost everything and coach told us to do in the first half. We still have a lot of things to fix, and defense is one of them. I hope this isn't my last triple-double. It's very exiciting for me. I wanted to go back on court so I could complete another triple-double, because it's part of history."
RANNIKKO, TEEMU
Union Olimpija
"We waited 30 hours before we came here and it was tough. In the first quarter we were still in the game, but as the game progressed we got tired. Maccabi started to connect some shots. It's always difficult to play here, and it was tough to chase after Maccabi."
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