Maccabi Tel Aviv is on its way to the Euroleague quarterfinals after trouncing Besiktas JK
101-58 at Nokia Arena on Thursday night for its sixth straight
Maccabi began Top 16 Group F with five defeats in seven games, but
it has won all six of its contests since, improving to 8-5 on Thursday to inch
closer to clinching a place in the last eight.
The sorry Besiktas was no
match for Maccabi, with the yellow-and-blue all but securing the win in the
first quarter, rendering the remainder of the game as garbage time.
Aviv entered Thursday tied with Olympiacos, Montepaschi Siena and Khimki Moscow
in Group F. However, its superior head-to-head record against both Olympiacos
and Siena should already see it effectively secure its progress on Friday
assuming group leader Barcelona (11-1) beats the Italians.
considering the way Tel Aviv has played in recent weeks, it will believe in its
chances of winning what seemed like an almost impossible game at Barcelona next
Thursday to not only book its place in the next stage regardless of other
results, but also possibly guarantee homecourt advantage in the best-offive
Devin Smith and Ricky Hickman led Maccabi with 16 points
each, with Nik Caner- Medley adding 15 points, Darko Planinic scoring 14 and
Sylven Landesberg netting 10.
Ricky Minard had 12 points for Besiktas,
which dropped to 1-12.
Maccabi hit the ground running on Thursday and
opened an unassailable lead over the woeful Turks after just six
An 18-2 run in less than four minutes inspired by the much
maligned Caner-Medley saw the hosts open a 17-point lead (23-6) and seize
complete control of the encounter.
After averaging just 3.1 points per
game in the Euroleague so far this season, Caner-Medley scored 10 in the first
quarter alone, ending the first half with 15 points.
Maccabi was never
going to be denied after taking a 29-11 gap into the second quarter and it
continued to mercilessly trample all over Besiktas.
A Landesberg free
throw took the margin to 20 points (33-13) and a Shawn James basket increased
the gap to 30 (47-16) midway through the second period.
The lead reached
34 points (61-27) at the break, but the yellow-and-blue never took its foot off
the gas in the second half on the way to an unforgettable victory.
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