Maccabi flexes its muscles, remains in 1st

Blatt’s men shoot the lights out at Nokia, steamroll hapless Prokom 99-58.

November 19, 2010 00:05
2 minute read.
JEREMY PARGO (right) and Maccabi Tel Aviv easily s

Pargo 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Maccabi Tel Aviv strengthened its position atop Euroleague Group A on Thursday night, thrashing Prokom Gdynia 99-58 at the Nokia Arena to improve its record to 4-1 on the season.

After last week’s drama in Russia in which Maccabi only clinched the win thanks to a last-second David Blu three-pointer, the yellowand- blue cruised almost effortlessly to victory on Thursday, opening a 17-point margin (48-31) by halftime and piling the misery on the winless Poles in the second half.

As always this season, it was Tel Aviv’s defense which gave it the victory, with the hosts recording 13 steals and forcing Prokom into 20 turnovers.

Maccabi was also superb offensively on Thursday, scoring 15 three-pointers and dishing 21 assists.

Chuck Eidson led Maccabi with 20 points and five steals. Doron Perkins and Guy Pnini added 13 points each, with Jeremy Pargo scoring 12.

“The team played really well,” Eidson said. “We were excellent both offensively and defensively and it was a great win.”

J.R. Giddins and Daniel Ewing had 14 points each for Prokom, which fell to 0-5.

Next up for Maccabi is a home encounter against Caja Laboral Vitoria. Tel Aviv will be out for revenge, with the Spaniards handing Maccabi its only defeat to date in the regular season, humbling the yellow-and-blue in Vitoria.

Prokom actually got off to the better start on Thursday, opening a 7-1 lead after a Ratko Varda basket.

However, it wouldn’t be long until the hosts found their groove, hitting their shots from beyond the arc and forcing the Poles to commit turnovers time and time again.

Maccabi implemented a full-court press at one stage and the visitors struggled to even cross halfcourt on multiple possessions.

Tel Aviv scored just twice from two-point range in the first 10 minutes, but hit six threes, and a 15-2 run gave it a 19-12 lead.

David Blatt’s men extended the gap to double-figures by the end of the first frame, with a Tal Burstein dunk following a Jeremy Pargo steal capping another superb first quarter by the yellow-andblue, giving the hosts a 29-19 margin.

Gdynia scored the first four points of the second period to close within two possessions, but the Poles never really looked capable of mounting a serious comeback and Tel Aviv continued to increase its lead until the break.

A Perkins three put Maccabi ahead by 15 (41-26) and the hosts were cruising at halftime, leading 48-31.

After scoring only 12 points in the second period and committing 16 turnovers in the half – 10 of them down to Maccabi steals – Prokom knew it would have to get the second half off to a flying start to have any chance of closing on the hosts.

However, the seven-time defending Polish champion took almost five minutes to even score its first points of the third quarter, and by that stage the game was already as good as over.

Maccabi’s 12-0 run to open the second half, capped by a Pargo lay-up, opened an unassailable 60-31 gap, rendering the final 15 minutes almost meaningless.

Gdynia managed to cut the margin to 70-47 by the end of the third period, but that was of little consolation for the visitors as Maccabi cruised to a ridiculously easy victory in the final frame.

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