Maccabi Electra defeated Efes Pilsen 72-62
Maccabi Electra held off a stern challenge from Efes Pilsen to take a 72-62 win at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv and grab a share of the Group F lead with a 2-1 record. Another brilliant showing from Week 2 MVP Alan Anderson with 23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals helped the Israeli champs in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate. Efes led early in the fourth quarter and the game was tied three times before the hosts pulled away. Alan Anderson and David Bluthenthal shined with a 9-0 run that broke the game open and put Maccabi ahead by double figures in the closing minutes. The two teams meet again in Istanbul in two weeks. Though the Turkish champs had a decisive height advantage, Maccabi outrebounded them 43-26 thanks in part to Anderson and point guard Doron Perkinss, who grabbed 8. On the other hand, Efes had an efficient offense with just 7 turnovers, while Maccabi committed 18. However 5 of Efes’s turnovers came when it could not afford in the fourth quarter. Bluthenthal added 11 points and Guy Pnini scored all of his 10 in the first half. Charles Smith paced Efes with 15 points, Bootsy Thornton added 13 and Daniel Santiago 10.
Maccabi scored first when Kaya Peker couldn’t handle a pass and Anderson got the ball to Pnini for an easy score. Efes came right back as Kerem Tunceri dished to Ermal Kuqo and then Thornton gave Efes the lead from the line. Kuqo added a nice post move, but back-to-back threes by Pnini and Andrew Wisniewski put the hosts up 10-6. Efes head coach Ergin Atman brought in a new backcourt of Igor Rakocevic and Bojan Popovic and they immediately paid dividends. Rakocevic drained a jumper, Popovic stripped Pnini and coasted for a layup and Rakocevic gave Efes the lead from the line. Maccabi crashed the offensive glass and got a follow-slam from Chuck Eidson. The hosts dominated the glass at both ends and extended the lead to 5 as Perkins grabbed the offensive rebound and whipped a pass to a cutting Bluthenthal. Mario Kasun used his size to score inside, but a Perkins jumper made it 18-13 after 10 minutes.
Maccabi went with a fast lineup with Stephane Lasme at center and Efes was unable to take advantage of Kasun’s 10-centemeter height advantage. Anderson sank a three-pointer that pushed the Maccabi lead to 9. Efes went even bigger inside with Santiago coming in and Preston Shumpert benefited with an offensive rebound and basket. Anderson went coast to coast for an acrobatic basket, but Shumpert matched him with a mid-range jumper. Nearly every Efes possession began with Santiago, but Lasme made sure it didn’t end there. However Lasme’s second foul brought him to the bench and Efes quickly closed the gap as Smith drove for a slam and Santiago spun around D’Or Fischer for a slam. After a timeout, Fischer came back with a tip-in of a Wisniewski miss and a soaring layup to finish a fastbreak. Alas Fischer’s second foul and Santiago’s resulting free throws brought Yaniv Green in at center. The Maccabi lead hit double figures when Anderson set up Pnini for an easy score. Santiago scored on the offensive glass and Smith drained a triple to make it 33-28. Despite a Pnini three, Efes came even closer as Smith scored on a penetration and Bootsy got three the hard way in transition. Bluthenthal and Ender Arslan bth missed from downtown, leaving Maccabi with a 36-33 halftime lead.
Efes continued to go inside to start the second half as Kuqo scored and Thornton posted up Wisniewski for 2 points. But Anderson was in form with an acrobatic basket and a jumper and Wisniewski drew a third foul from Bootsy. Efes grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds before Smith sank a triple. Bootsy sent Fischer to the bench with 3 fouls and tied the game at 42-42 from the line. Thornton then backed down Pnini before hitting a fade-away jumper to put the Turkish champs ahead for the first time since the first quarter. Anderson again flashed his individual skills to get to the basket and tie the score. After a timeout, Pnini’s downcourt pass for a pretty slam from Anderson brought he crowd to its feet, but Smith sat them back down with a three from the corner. In the last minute of the third quarter, Eidson knocked down a three, Shumpert fought for a tough basket and Anderson got to the line for 2 free throws to give the hosts a 51-49 edge.
Santiago tied the score with a basket inside to open the fourth quarter and on the next possession he drew a foul and put the visitors ahead from the line. Bluthenthal fed Eidson for an alley-oop and then an Anderson steal led to a Bluthenthal layup and a Maccabi lead. Arslan knotted the game with a floater over Fischer’s outstretched arm, but Anderson put the yellow-and-blue in the lead once more. After an Efes timeout, Fischer sank a crucial jumper and then stopped Santiago, who lost the ball while going up for a hook shot. Bluthenthal got to the line and made it 61-55 midway through the fourth quarter. Tunceri sank a big three for Efes, but Bluthenthal answered back with a long jumper. Smith brought his team within 3 with a fast break slam, but Maccabi’s main man Anderson went through the Efes defense for a finger roll. Eidson increased the Maccabi lead to 67-60 with 2 free throws with two-and-a-half minutes to play. A Bluthenthal triple from the corner with 1:27 left brought the crowd to its feet and essentially secured the win, though the remaining time was still important for point difference in potential tiebreakers. An Efes turnover and an Anderson slam allowed the fans to sing away the closing seconds of a big Maccabi win.
Thursday, February 11, 2010