Sofoklis Schortsanitis 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv will enter Game 2 of the best-of-five Euroleague quarterfinal
playoff series against Caja Laboral Vitoria on Thursday with a mustwin
mentality, after falling to a 76-70 defeat in Game 1 in Spain on Tuesday
Vitoria outscored Tel Aviv 26-14 in the first quarter and
maintained the lead until the end of the game, although Maccabi will look to
draw some encouragement from remaining in touch with the hosts throughout the
contest ahead of Game 2.
Tel Aviv hosts Games 3 and 4 at Nokia Arena next
week, but with a decisive Game 5 – if needed – to be played in Vitoria, the
yellow-andblue knows that its chances to advance to the Final Four will be
extremely slim should it drop to another defeat on Thursday.
Hendrix played his best game for Maccabi this season on Tuesday, scoring 16
points, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking four shots.
Lior Eliyahu added
12 points for Tel Aviv, which shot just 17.6 percent (3 of 17) from three-point
Stanko Barac had 17 points for Vitoria, with David Logan adding 14
points for the hosts, who shot 13 of 26 from beyond the arc.
began the game well, taking an early lead after a threepoint play by Eliyahu.
However, the hosts soon seized control and punished Tel Aviv’s poor perimeter
defense time and again.
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A Fernando San Emeterio threepointer opened a
five-point margin (14-9) and Maccabi was in serious trouble once Logan found his
range, with the American scoring eight points in the closing stages of the first
period, including two triples, to give Vitoria a 26-14 lead after 10
Logan remained on fire at the start of the second quarter,
hitting a three to start the period to open a record 15-point gap.
Eliyahu basket brought Tel Aviv within single-digits (35-26), but Caja
maintained complete control until the break, with San Emeterio’s basket to end
the first half giving the hosts a 14-point cushion (46-32) at
Tel Aviv seemed to have no answers for Vitoria, but David
Blatt’s men came flying out of the gates at the start of the second half and
quickly reduced the deficit.
A Richard Hendrix dunk capped a 10-1 Maccabi
run to start the third quarter, cutting Vitoria’s margin to five points (47-42),
but the yellowand- blue could still not stop the Spaniards from the beyond the
arc and San Emeterio’s three reestablished a double-digit gap
Nevertheless, Maccabi never lost hope, and after Jeremy Pargo
scored the team’s first triple of the night following 10 misses, Tel Aviv
trailed by just six points (61-55) with one quarter remaining.
basket to begin the final frame cut the gap to just four points and with
three-and-a-half minutes to play Maccabi was in contention, trailing 69-64
following Hendrix’s two points.
However, Caja would score the next seven
points, with Marcelinho Huertas’s triple with 1:54 to go completing the 7-0 run
that would give Vitoria an unassailable 12-point gap (76-64) on the way to a 1-0
lead in the series.
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