Maccabi Tel Aviv handles Zagreb in home opener

Tel Aviv had little trouble dominating the Croats, taking 41- 29 lead into breakת, opening 18- point margin (76-58) by end of third period.

Shawn James_311 (photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv Website)
Shawn James_311
(photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv Website)
Maccabi Tel Aviv strolled to a third straight victory in the Adriatic League on Thursday night, thrashing Cibona Zagreb 97-81 in its home opener at Nokia Arena.
Tel Aviv had little trouble dominating the Croats, taking a 41- 29 lead into the break and opening an 18- point margin (76-58) by the end of the third period.
Zagreb closed to within eight points (80-72) at the start of the fourth quarter, but Maccabi responded with a 13- 2 run to end any hope Cibona may have had of completing a comeback.
Jordan Farmar had 19 points and seven assists for Maccabi, with Devin Smith also scoring 19, hitting five of eight three-point attempts.
Lior Eliyahu added 14 points, with Sofoklis Schortsanitis and David Blu scoring 11 points each.
“I’m not happy that we allowed 52 points in the second half,” Maccabi coach David Blatt said. “We turned off defensively in the second half and that is something we can’t afford when we play at the next level.
Cibona has a lot of talent, but they have yet to gel as a team and we took advantage of that.”
Maccabi will not play its next Adriatic League game until October 22 when it visits Siroki in Bosnia.
Next week, Maccabi takes part in the BSL’s preseason Chance Cup at Malha Arena, facing Barak Netanya in the quarterfinals on Monday, with the semifinals to be played on Tuesday and the final to take place on Thursday.
Hapoel Jerusalem, which plays Maccabi Ashdod in its quarterfinal on Sunday, breathed a huge sigh of relief on Thursday after it was revealed that Brian Randle will only have to miss 10 days with a foot injury.
Jerusalem was worried Randle might had broken his foot in training, but Thursday’s diagnosis means that he will only miss the Chance Cup and Hapoel’s BSL opener against Bnei Hasharon on October 17.
Randle should be back for the team’s second BSL game of the season against Hapoel Gilboa/Galil the following week.
On Wednesday, Hapoel completed the signing of two new players, veteran big man John Thomas and Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, who is set to return to the US once the NBA lockout ends.
Bradley was selected with the 19th pick overall in the 2010 draft, but only averaged 1.7 points and 5.2 minutes in the 31 games he played for the Celtics last season.