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Maccabi Tel Aviv bounced back from last week's humiliating loss in Euroleague action to defeat Efes Pilsen 73-67 Thursday night at Nokia Arena. Esteban Batista led Maccabi with 14 points in 17 minutes, Lior Eliyahu added 13 points and five rebounds, and Terence Morris scored 11.
The fans gave Efes Pilsen coach David Blatt - Maccabi's former coach - a warm welcome, but that was all the applause a member of the visiting squad would get the rest of the evening.
Batista's clutch baskets in the fourth quarter, along with Morris's tough defense and brilliant shooting, were crucial.
Will Bynum started at guard for Maccabi and had a terrific first period, dishing out four assists. Two of them went to Lior Eliyahu, who finished the quarter with seven points. Andre Hutson, who had been ill most of the week, gave Efes Pilsen a lift with six of his 21 points. The quarter ended tied at 18.
Terrence Morris gave Maccabi a four-point lead (22-18) to begin the second quarter. But a foul by Fizer, followed by a technical, helped Efes Pilsen even up the score.
Blatt was then forced to call a time-out to calm his team, and Efes Pilsen went on a 7-0 run. Outstanding play from Hutson and Kenny Gregory, with four of his 12 points, led the Turkish side back into the contest to go into the locker room down by only one point, 36-35.
Maccabi opened the third quarter with five-straight points. Gregory hit a three-pointer from the corner, and Andrew Nicholas's eight points gave Efes Pilsen a 55-50 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Batista's three consecutive layups to give Tel Aviv a 7-0 run and take the lead 57-55.
Hutson answered back for Pilsen. But a Derrick Sharp three-pointer, sharp-shooting by Will Bynum and a clutch triple by Terrence Morris gave Maccabi the lead for good.