(photo credit: BSL Website)
Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed its ninth straight Euroleague win on Thursday night,
beating Prokom Gdynia 83-72 in Poland.
Tel Aviv had already secured first
place in Group A two weeks ago, but its hunger for success this season is so
great that it refuses to lose even in supposedly meaningless
Maccabi outscored Prokom 25-11 in the first period and never
looked back, extending its winning streak to nine games, something it has not
done in the Euroleague since the 2004/05 season in which it went on to be
crowned European champion.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis led Maccabi with 23
points and seven rebounds in just 22 minutes.
Chuck Eidson added 13
points and six assists, while Milan Macvan scoring eight points in his 18-minute
Filip Videnov scored 20 points for Prokom, which ends the regular
season with a 2-8 record, bottom of the group.
Tel Aviv will be a top
seed in the Top 16 draw on January 4 in Barcelona and will next face a second,
third and fourth placed team from the other groups.
The Top 16 round will
get underway on January 20, with the first two teams from each group to advance
to the Euroleague quarterfinal playoffs.
Thursday’s game may have meant
very little to Maccabi, but the yellow-and-blue still got off to a flying start,
with Jeremy Pargo capping a quick 8-0 run.
Sofo’s three-point play opened
a 14-2 gap with the game less than three minutes old and the visitors would
cruise from that stage on.
The one-sided scoreline allowed Blatt to
introduce new signing Macvan in the first period, and the 21-year-old Serbian
scored from the post in his first possession as a Maccabi player to give Tel
Aviv a 25-8 advantage.
Prokom scored the final three points of the
quarter to cut the gap slightly (25- 11), but at no stage did the Poles even
threaten to mount a comeback, and the visitors extended the margin almost
Two Guy Pnini three-pointers followed by a Sofo basket
helped Maccabi to an 11-2 run and a 25-point lead (44-19).
put up a fight in the remainder of the first half and Tel Aviv was in complete
control at the break, leading 52-29.
The hosts would finally put up some
challenge in the third frame, with Videnov’s basket bringing Gdynia within 10
points (67-57) with 10 minutes to play.
The Poles would come no closer
though, with Maccabi beginning the fourth period with a 9-0 run to secure yet
another continental win.