Sixth-consecutive Top 16 victory for yellow-and-blue puts it in position to advance.
By ALLON SINAIPublished: MARCH 29, 2013 02:39Advertisement
Maccabi Tel Aviv is on its way to the Euroleague quarterfinals after trouncing Besiktas JK 101-58 at Nokia Arena on Thursday night for its sixth straight win.Maccabi began Top 16 Group F with five defeats in seven games, but it has won all six of its contests since, improving to 8-5 on Thursday to inch closer to clinching a place in the last eight.The sorry Besiktas was no match for Maccabi, with the yellow-and-blue all but securing the win in the first quarter, rendering the remainder of the game as garbage time.Tel Aviv entered Thursday tied with Olympiacos, Montepaschi Siena and Khimki Moscow in Group F. However, its superior head-to-head record against both Olympiacos and Siena should already see it effectively secure its progress on Friday assuming group leader Barcelona (11-1) beats the Italians.However, considering the way Tel Aviv has played in recent weeks, it will believe in its chances of winning what seemed like an almost impossible game at Barcelona next Thursday to not only book its place in the next stage regardless of other results, but also possibly guarantee homecourt advantage in the best-offive playoff series.Devin Smith and Ricky Hickman led Maccabi with 16 points each, with Nik Caner- Medley adding 15 points, Darko Planinic scoring 14 and Sylven Landesberg netting 10.Ricky Minard had 12 points for Besiktas, which dropped to 1-12.Maccabi hit the ground running on Thursday and opened an unassailable lead over the woeful Turks after just six minutes.An 18-2 run in less than four minutes inspired by the much maligned Caner-Medley saw the hosts open a 17-point lead (23-6) and seize complete control of the encounter.After averaging just 3.1 points per game in the Euroleague so far this season, Caner-Medley scored 10 in the first quarter alone, ending the first half with 15 points.Maccabi was never going to be denied after taking a 29-11 gap into the second quarter and it continued to mercilessly trample all over Besiktas.A Landesberg free throw took the margin to 20 points (33-13) and a Shawn James basket increased the gap to 30 (47-16) midway through the second period.The lead reached 34 points (61-27) at the break, but the yellow-and-blue never took its foot off the gas in the second half on the way to an unforgettable victory.
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