Euroleague: Maccabi trounces Real by 19 points

Will Bynum scores 22 points as Tel Aviv moves back on top of Top-16 group standings.

Blumenthal Mac TA 224. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Blumenthal Mac TA 224.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Final Four push got back on track on Thursday night after a 94-75 thrashing of Real Madrid at the Nokia Arena. Tel Aviv, which was humbled by 19 points at Zalgiris Kaunas last week, needed a big win on Thursday, and got exactly that against a Madrid team coming into the encounter on a seven game win streak. As always with a Tzvika Sherf team, defense was the key to success. The yellow-and-blue held the visitors to just 26 points in the second and third quarters combined. Terence Morris, who scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Will Bynum, who contributed 22 points and five assists, played crucial roles in the victory, but just as vital was Nikola Vujcic, who scored 14 points and passed five assists in 18 minutes after missing last weeks game. "I just tried to come out and be aggressive," Bynum said after the game. The team claimed the win tonight and not me. We have a long way to go and we're going to work hard and try to win every game." Maccabi, which shot an excellent 36 of 58 (62 percent) from the field, also out-rebounded Real 36 to 25. Madrid was led by Felipe Reyes, who scored 16 points, with Louis Bullock adding 15 points. Axel Hervelle's basket opened an early five-point Real margin (7-2), but the hosts answered back with a 9-0 run, which was capped by a Morris block and lay-up. Madrid got right back into the encounter, with Blagota Sekulic tying the score (13-13) with a dunk and Bullock giving the visitors the lead with two-points (17-16). A Bynum three-pointer at the start of the second period extended Tel Aviv's one-point first quarter advantage (25-24) and gave the hosts an ideal start to what would prove to be a outstanding 10 minutes. Bynum scored 11 points in the second quarter and was the catalyst behind Maccabi's crucial surge. Esteban Batista's two-points gave Tel Aviv its biggest margin of the first half (46-31) and a basket by Omri Casspi, who was excellent on Thursday, meant the hosts took a 50-37 advantage into the interval. Momentum was truly on Maccabi's side in the third period and the hosts' excellent defense allowed them to pull further and further ahead. Bynum, in his best game of the season, orchestrated the team from the backcourt and his three with just over two minutes to play in the quarter increased the gap to 17 points (65-48). A basket by the fit again Vujcic, who was part of 13 Maccabi players and coaches who were honored by the Euroleague ahead of the game, extended the margin to 70-50 with 10 minutes to play and effectively rendered the fourth quarter meaningless. Real scored slightly better in final period, but it was far too little far too late as Morris and Vujcic teamed-up time and again to make sure Tel Aviv completed its first home win of the last 16.