Euroleague: Partizan takes series lead in Belgrade
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s dream of making it to Final Four dealt a blow with 81-73 defeat.
By JEREMY LAST
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s dream of making it to the Euroleague Final Four was dealt a blow on Tuesday when Pini Gershon’s team was given a severe beating by Partizan Belgrade in Serbia.Playing in front of an intimidating 24,000 fans at the Belgrade Arena, Maccabi was behind for nearly all of quarterfinal series Game 3, finally losing 81-73.Tel Aviv will now go into Thursday’s Game 4 in Belgrade, knowing it must win to avoid elimination.If the Israelis manage to take a victory away from Serbia the series will come down to a decider in Tel Aviv a week later.Maccabi had no answer to the power of its opponent, and Bo McCalebb led the hosts with 18 points, while Aleks Maric added 16.Partizan was far more accurate than it had been in the first two games of the series, both of which had seen Tel Aviv take 20-point leads.Alan Anderson top-scored for the visitors with 13 points and Chuck Eidson got another 11.Maccabi started terribly. With two minutes left in the first quarter the home team was leading by 13 points (25-12), with Jan Vesely having already scored seven points.The Israelis settled after those early exchanges, and a Doron Perkinsbasket on the buzzer ensured they ended the first stanza down by justnine (26-17).However, Partizan stormed back to form in thesecond quarter, and McCalebb’s shooting stretched the advantage back to13 points at half-time (47-34).The yellow-and-blue went on aneight-point run at the start of the third quarter, but it was nowherenear enough to take control of the game.Even though thevisitors closed to within ten points (78-68) they were unable to makeany significant dent and left the arena emptyhanded.
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