Maccabi Tel Aviv improved to 2-0 in Euroleague Group B in dramatic fashion on
Thursday night, snatching a 70- 68 victory over Montepaschi Siena at Nokia Arena
thanks to Ricky Hickman’s basket with four seconds to play.
failed to repeat its impressive showing from last week’s road win over Unicaja
Malaga, but outscored Siena 8- 0 in the final two minutes to win its Euroleague
home opener for a 14th straight season.
Hickman led the yellow-and-blue
with 19 points, with Malcolm Thomas adding 14 points and 11 rebounds and Lior
Eliyahu contributing 11 points and 11 boards for Maccabi, which shot just 19
percent (4 of 21) from three-point range.
Marcelus Kemp had 16 points for
Siena, which led for most of the game, but ended up falling to its second
straight continental defeat.
Maccabi’s lax defending allowed Siena to
catch the hosts on the fast break time and again in the first half and the
Italians opened an early lead they would maintain until the
Kristjan Kangur’s lay-up with 1:46 to play in the first period
took Siena’s gap to seven points (17-10) and Bobby Brown’s buzzer-beating basket
from beyond midcourt ensured the visitors had a deserved 20-14 margin after 10
Matters could have been far worse for the hosts had Siena not
missed so many easy opportunities, with Maccabi badly misfiring on
Mario Kasun’s basket took Siena’s lead to a game-high nine
points (29-20) midway through the second quarter, but Tel Aviv scored the final
six points of the half and was surely delighted to find itself just two points
down (33-31) at halftime after shooting a shocking 30.8 percent from the field
in the first 20 minutes.
Siena remained ahead for the first five minutes
of the second half, but a Hickman and Devin Smith inspired run saw Maccabi
finally move into the lead (45- 43) with 4:25 to play in the quarter thanks to
Hickman’s three-point play.
A stunning Thomas dunk and a Guy Pnini basket
to end the period gave the hosts a one-point edge (53-52) ahead of the final 10
minutes and the lead would exchange hands numerous times in the fourth
A rare Hickman three gave Maccabi a 62-60 advantage midway through
the quarter, but it took the yellow-and-blue more than three minutes to score
its next points and Siena had a six-point gap (68-62) with two minutes to play
after hitting four-straight free throws.
However, Maccabi would score the
next eight points, tying the score at 68- 68 after a Hickman steal and free
throws with 37 seconds remaining, and the American guard hit the winning basket
with four seconds to play to clinch a scrappy win for the yellowand- blue.
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