MAC TA 298 .
(photo credit: AP)
With the game on the line, Maccabi Tel Aviv put its fate in the hands of Euroleague MVP Anthony Parker. The players and its fans would not regret that decision.
Parker received an inbounds pass with 11.7 seconds remaining in a tied basketball game, held the ball at the three-point line, and dribbled to the right baseline. Nineteen feet out, he elevated and separated himself from the Raptors' Morris Peterson, and knocked down a fade away jumper with eight-tenths of a second remaining to give Maccabi Tel Aviv a 105-103 victory in front of a Maccabi crowd in Toronto, Canada, on Sunday.
"I like going right and shooting that shot and it's something that I practice a lot," said Parker. "Thank God it went in."
After hitting the shot, Parker's teammates rushed at him near half court.
The swingman looked to the stands with his right index finger pointing skyward.
"No, not number one, I was pointing at my dad," said Parker, laughing.
Although Maccabi came out on top, it needed a strong second half after going down 58-46 on a Chris Bosh 20-foot shot to end the second quarter.
To start the second half, Bosh picked up where he left off, hitting a jumpshot 14 seconds into the third quarter to bring the Raptors their largest lead of the game at 60-46. But the next six-and-a-half minutes were all Maccabi, as the team went on a 19-8 run to pull within one, 68-67 when Maceo Baston hit a pair of free throws.
During that stretch Parker showed why he is Europe's best, turning defense into offense and getting out on the fast break. With 9:54 remaining in the quarter, he intercepted a pass intended for Toronto's Jalen Rose and threw down a one-handed slam, igniting the crowd. Three minutes later, with his team trailing by five, Parker stole another pass and laid in a smooth finger-roll on a contested fast break.
"I believe that kid Parker, he's pretty good," said Raptors rookie Charlie Villanueva.
Parker led Maccabi with 24 points and added seven rebounds, to help make up for forward Maceo Baston's absence. Baston played less than 18 minutes, fouling out with ten minutes showing on the clock. Center Nikola Vujcic had his way in the paint and finished with 21 points on an array of one-handed runners and outside jumpers. The versatile center added 10 rebounds and four assists. Newcomer Will Solomon proved to be a solid replacement for NBA-departed point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius. Solomon scored 15 points, including a key three-pointer with 2:39 remaining to give Maccabi a 95-93 lead, which also sent the crowd into pandemonium.
Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 27 points and 12 rebounds. He pulled down seven offensive rebounds, most of which he turned into second-chance points that forced Maccabi to play catchup for most of the game. NBA commissioner David Stern was part of the announced 17,281 in attendance.
He sat courtside and was seen mouthing "woah" when looking up at the close score during the fourth quarter.
Maccabi will travel to captain Derrick Sharp's hometown to try and make another NBA victim out of the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night