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In the third one-sided game between Maccabi Tel Aviv and an NBA team this pre-season, the perennial Israeli champions were trounced late Tuesday by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron James, 93-67.
In front of a near capacity crowd of 20,000 in Cleveland, Maccabi started well and was down only 4 points at the end of the first quarter, 26-22.
The Cavs opened up their lead in the second quarter (55-40 in halftime) and by third it became a rout (78-49). Maccabi came out strong in the fourth in an attempt to at least come out with a semi-decent showing, won the quarter 18-15 but the effort was too little too late.
Dru Gooden scored 21 points for Cleveland, while Lebron finished with only 13 points, but grabbed 8 rebounds and passed for 8 assists. Maccabi's Rodney Buford was top scorer for the yellow squad with 19 points while Will Bynum netted 13.
"We came out to play hard today and that's why we won. We played well in the second half. We ran, performed well on offense and everyone had a chance to take part. We had nothing to prove, we just came out and got the job done," James said after the game.
Maccabi dropped to 0-4 in its preseason with three of the losses against San Antonio, Phoenix and Cleveland. Last year, Maccabi defeated Toronto 105-103 at the Air Canada Centre, only the second loss by an NBA team since the league sanctioned competition against international teams in 1987.
Maccabi will try to repeat last year's performance and end the tour with a sweeter note with a game against Toronto Raptors and Anthony Parker on Thursday.
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