When Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Pini Gershon built his new team in the summer this is what he dreamed about. A suffocating defense combined with some superb offense, resulting in an emphatic victory over one of European basketball's most prestigious clubs.
Maccabi thrashed CSKA Moscow 71-54 at the Nokia Arena on Thursday night, outplaying the Russian powerhouse throughout the encounter.
This may not be the same Moscow team which reached the last four Euroleague Final Fours, winning the title twice.
However, despite parting with coach Ettore Messina and several key plays in the summer, CSKA was still tipped to challenge for a Final Four berth at the start of the season.
The facts that Maccabi held it to just 54 points on Thursday night, and won with such ease, are a true testament to the potential of Gershon's team.
Chuck Eidson led Maccabi with 16 points, with Maciej Lampe adding 15 points. Defensive star Stephane Lasme was excellent on the offensive end, scoring 14 points, with Alan Anderson getting 13 points and Doron Perkins contributing seven points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Ramunas Siskauskas was CSKA's only player to score in double-figures, ending the game with 12 points.
Maccabi exploded out of the gates and never looked back.
An Anderson three-pointer after two minutes opened a 5-0 lead and CSKA coach Evgeny Pashutin was forced to take a timeout after the Russians failed to score in the first three minutes, falling to a 7-0 deficit.
Well before the season began it was clear that Gershon had once more built an extremely talented offensive side.
However, it was Maccabi's defense which made the difference on Thursday, with the hosts amazingly holding Moscow scoreless for more than six minutes.
Gershon's men led 10-0 when Andrey Vorontsevich finally got the visitors on the board with a resounding dunk, which did little to cheer the CSKA bench.
Moscow would close to within five points (12-7) at one stage, but Eidson's three to end the quarter ensured Maccabi took the double-digit margin (19-7) it deserved into the second period.
Tel Aviv had no intention of relenting in the second quarter, and continued to increase the gap. Eidson's triple gave the team a 15-point advantage (26-11) and seven straight Lampe points opened a 35-16 lead and almost crippled the visitors.
Maccabi was ahead by as many as 20 points (38-18) after an Anderson basket and a buzzer-beating dunk by the American swingman following a clever team move ensured the hosts were still comfortably in front at the break (40-25).
Maccabi continued to increase its margin at the opening stages of the second half, but a brief lapse in concentration allowed CSKA to cut the gap, closing to within 11 points (50-39).
Tel Aviv would have the better of the final two minutes of the quarter, however, with Perkins shining on both ends of the court and ensuring the team led 56-40 with 10 minutes to play.
Maccabi never took its foot off the gas and all but clinched the win midway through the final period. Two outstanding moves by Eidson gave the side a 67-44 lead and the remainder of the game was no more than a procession.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>