Maccabi wraps up dominant campaign

Tel Aviv handles Prokom 83-72 in Poland, now awaits draw for Top 16.

Blatt 311 (photo credit: BSL Website)
Blatt 311
(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 games.
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 debut.
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 effortlessly.
Two Guy Pnini three-pointers followed by a Sofo basket helped Maccabi to an 11-2 run and a 25-point lead (44-19).
Gdynia hardly 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.