What a difference a year makes! The last time that Maccabi Tel Aviv went to play Idea Slask Wroclaw in Poland, the locals didn't have much of a chance and got blown out. On Thursday night in the Euroleague, it was a different story. This time, the sky above Wroclaw rained three-pointers and Piero Bucchi's boys handed a big 79-65 loss to one of the Euroleague's top-rated clubs. The victory by Wroclaw put them atop Group A at 2-0, tied with Olympiakos of Greece, while the rest of the group counts at least one loss already. Maccabi dropped to 1-1. Wroclaw stunned Maccabi with a 13-for-26 three-point display, the big damage coming in a 15-0 run that bridged the final two quarters. Dominik Tomczyk hit two from long-distance in that span and Fred Vinson one. Vinson and Andrei Fettisov finished with 18 points each to lead the winners and Tomczyk had 14. Nadav Henefeld and Anthony Parker had 11 each for Maccabi.
Vinson, who played the most minutes but scored only two points in Wroclaw's first win, at Charleroi of Belgium, showed a different face on his home court, where the rumors had swirled all week that he would be released. Vinson came out firing strikes and firing up his team and the home crowd as well. He had 10 points as Wroclaw took a 13-5 lead in the first four minutes. Maccabi switched to a zone, however, and suddenly Wroclaw could score no more. Slowed by a lot of turnovers and offensive fouls, the quarter would finish in a 14-14 tie as Arriel McDonald counterbalanced Vinson a bit with 6 points. The comeback was timely, but Maccabi had one small problem on its hands already: 2 fouls to Huseyin Besok. Nonetheless, with its depth making up for Besok's absence, Maccabi pushed ahead confidently in the second quarter. Parker buried a three-pointer for the first substantial lead by the visitors, 22-28, but Dainius Adomaitis was able to answer for Wroclaw and trim the deficit to 29-32. Adomaitis was up to 7 points, Parker only 5, so the latter finished off their duel with a nifty shot to close the half, with Maccabi leading 29-34.
If the first half was defensive-minded, Wroclaw made the third quarter even moreso, limiting Maccabi to the odd basket while cutting away at the lead. It resulted in a 10-6 run that made it a one-point game, 39-40. Gintaris Einikis was a big factor inside, as no stray rebounds went Maccabi's way, even with Huffman and Besok on court. Besok scored two straight baskets to return the lead to five, at 39-44, but nobody expected what came next, a 9-0 run to finish the quarter by Wroclaw. Adomaitis started it with four free throws, the last pair coming on McDonald's fourth personal foul. Vinson raised his point total to 15 with another basket. And then Tomczyk capped the run with a three-pointer. But the Polish champions were far from over. To start the fourth quarter, Tomczyik buried another three-pointer. Then Vinson matched him! Maccabi had not scored in almost four minutes until Gur Shelef made a layup, but the hosts would not stop shooting out the lights. Tomczyk again with another three pushed the lead to 60-46. Fettisov made a tip-in and then Adomaitis nailed a three. Finally, it was Fettisov getting in on the act with his own strike from long distance. Wroclaw had made 13 three-pointers to that point. The lead was up to 74-59. Group A was getting hot in the second week, just like everyone expected.
Thursday, October 18, 2001