MAc Tel Aviv 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv secured its spot in the Euroleague quarterfinal playoffs on Thursday night with an 82-76 win over Climamio Bologna at Nokia Arena.
Maccabi got strong performances when it needed them from its top players, starting with Nikola Vujcic in the first quarter and Will Solomon in the fourth. Vujcic, Anthony Parker and Jamie Arnold scored 15 apiece for the twotime defending Euroleague champs, while Solomon had 11 points and six assists and Macero Baston scored 10.
The win improved Maccabi's Top 16 record to 4-1, while Climamio fell to 1-4 and was eliminated from the running for the playoffs. Maccabi finishes the round of play next week in Istanbul at Ulker.
Maccabi's rival for first place in Group E, Real Madrid, led by 20 points at halftime in its game against Ulker on Thursday in Spain.
"It's always a plus to get first place, but the most important thing is to qualify [for the next round]," Arnold said. "I don't think we lacked a killer instinct, we did what we needed to do and we won the game."
The team that wins the group will face Group D runner-up Olympiacos in a best of-three quarterfinals series, hosting games 1 and 3. The Group E runner-up gets Group D winner Barcelona, with the Spanish giants hosting the first and last games.
Maccabi faced both teams twice in the regular season, beating Barca twice, while splitting a pair with the Greek side.
Maccabi ran out to an early 10-2 lead behind stellar play from Vujcic. Bologna's Sani Becirovic (19 points) kept his team in the running and the visitors closed to within 46-42 at halftime.
The yellow-and-blue played tough defense in the third, limiting Bologna to just 11 points to pull away for good.