Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv proved that it will not give up its trophy easily when it posted an historic 84-89 road win over Climamio in Bologna to take over second place in Group E on Thursday. Maccabi's victory marked the first time in 23 games and 764 days - going back to February 4, 2004, to be exact - that a visiting Euroleague team has beaten Climamio in Bologna. Most important, however, was that Maccabi climbed to 2-1 in Group E with two home games out of the three remaining. Climamio fell to 1-2 and might have to win its remaining games to survive. Maccabi's signature player, Anthony Parker, stepped up when the champs needed him most, scoring 6 of his team-high 20 points in the final 3 minutes. Jamie Arnold came through again with 17 points for Maccabi while Nikola Vujcic and Will Solomon added 14 each and Derrick Sharp 10. Erazem Lorbek tried to rally Climamio and finished with 19 points. Marco Belinelli followed with 17 points, although 15 of them came in the first quarter. Daligor Bagaric added 14 and Kimane Garris 10 for Climamio, while Travis Watson pulled 14 rebounds.
Climamio coach Jasmin Repesa chose newcomer Yakhouba Diawara as a surprise starter, and looked smart when, after a Lorbek layup, he assisted a three-pointer by Belinelli to make it 5-0. Lorbek scored again inside but Vujcic hit him with a bucket-plus-free throw to make it 7-5. Bagaric’s put-back revealed Maccabi’s troubles on defensive rebounds before Nate Green and Sharp exchanged triples for a 12-11 score. Belinelli now erupted for 8 points in a minute - on a layup and back-to-back triples - to energize the crowd and push Climamio to a 20-13 lead, which Green extendedwith a jumper. Maccabi narrowed the gap with foul shots but another jumper by Belinelli spelled a 24-15 board. Arnold and Vujcic pulled Maccabi within 6 points at 26-20, but the guests couldn’t handle Belinelli, who soared up to 15 points himself while taking Climamio to a 30-24 advantage after 10 minutes.
Sani Becirovic scored foul shots for Climamio to start the second quarter, but while the hosts kept grabbing plenty of offensive rebounds, they weren't making the second-chance points. Maccabi stayed close as Vujcic hit a long jumper and fed Parker for a 34-30 score. After a layup by Maceo Baston, Sharp took over with back-to-back transition triples that brought the guests within 39-38, forcing a Climamio timeout. Vujcic's master move against Bagaric gave Maccabi its first lead, 39-40, and later his dunk upped that to 41-44. Tomas Ress tied the game for Climamio with an open three-pointer but Jamie Arnold responded to put the visitors back in front, 44-48. Maccabi had the momentum but Kiwane Garris took it back for himself, scoring a layup and 6 free throws in less than a minute to vualt Climamio ahead again, 52-48 at the halftime.
Parker’s triple to open the second half cut the gap 52-51. Climamio ignited its fasbreak as Green followed a Lorbek jumper with a layup on the run to make it 56-51. After Baston and Watson traded baskets, Lorbek sank a big three which sent Climamio up by 6 points, 61-55, midway through the quarter. Parker hit a jumper but Lorbek replied with another three before Arnold dunked for a 64-59 score. Arnold hit again from inside the key, 64-61, and when Climamio missed 3 of 4 free throws, Solomon made the hosts pay. He sank a three-pointer first, and then jumper that made it 67-66. Vujcic drew Bagaric’s third foul and tied the game from the line, 67-67. Solomon wasn’t done, however, and his third jumper in a row closed the quarter with Maccabi leading 67-69.
Becirovic tied the game with a jumper, 69-69, to get the final quarter started. After Vujcic's free throws got Maccabi got the lead back, Climamio replied with Becirovic and a put-back by Diawara to retake a 73-71 advantage. Baston, fed by Parker, revived the guests with 5 straight points to put the guests ahead 73-76. Garris drew another foul on a three-pointer but scored just 2 free throws, so a dunk by Baston and a jumper by Parker let Maccabi preserve a 77-80 lead. Lorbek missed the foul shot on a three-point play before Becirovic from the line forged an 81-81 tie with 2 minutes left. Garris had a chance to put the hosts ahead, but his triple attempts spun out. That's when Parker took the ball and sank what would be the definitive go-ahead jumper, making it 81-84 with 1 minute left. Becirovic had the ball stolen and Solomon ended up adding a free throw to Maccabi's lead before a new miss by Garris put Arnold on the line to boost the lead to 81-87. Lorbek tried the miracle with a triple but Solomon’s free throws secured an historic 84-89 for Maccabi as Climamio walked off its own court a Euroleague loser for the first time in more than two years.
Thursday, March 9, 2006