Yellow-and-blue blows out Netanya in final

Surging Mac TA claims ho-hum State Cup title with 106-70 annihilation at Nokia.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
One down, two to go.
Maccabi Tel Aviv thrashed Barak Netanya 106-70 in the State Cup final at Nokia Arena on Thursday night, picking up the first of what it hopes will be three titles this season.
Maccabi opened a slender lead in the first period and effectively secured the win after beginning the second quarter with a 17-0 run.
Netanya never came close to mounting a comeback and Tel Aviv lifted the trophy for a second straight year.
Last season, Maccabi fell short in the BSL and the Euroleague after claiming the cup.
But the yellow-and-blue has played superb basketball throughout this campaign under the guidance of coach David Blatt, and besides being a massive favorite to reclaim the Israeli championship, Tel Aviv also feels it has a real chance to be take the European title.
The final was marred by a massbrawl in the third period after the game was long decided.
Romeo Travis began a needles fight on-court with just under four minutes to play in the third quarter, throwing a punch at David Blu and sparking a skirmish between both rosters.
Travis and Blu, as well as Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Adrian Banks, who both also throw punches in the skirmish, were ejected.
“We did exactly what we said we would,” Blatt said. “We came and played our regular game and we are happy to come through this event.”
Guy Pnini led Maccabi with 21 points, with Sofo scoring 16, Milan Macvan adding 13 and Lior Eliyahu and Blu contributing 11 points each.
Banks had 22 points for Netanya, with Elton Brown adding 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Schortsanitis scored the first points of the night and Maccabi never lost the lead.
Tel Aviv held Netanya to just six points in the first six minutes of the quarter and a Eliyahu basket midway through the period opened a doubledigit margin (17-6).
Richard Hendrix’s free-throws increased the gap to 20-6, but Netanya ended the quarter with an 8-2 run and was still in contention after 10 minutes.
After four straight points by Banks, Chuck Eidson and Sofo missed four successive shots from the line and Maccabi was ahead by just eight points (22-14) after one quarter.
However, Tel Aviv regained its focus at the start of the second period and all but clinched the win with its trademark suffocating defense and fastbreak offense.
Blu’s three to start the frame began Maccabi’s 17-0 run, with Pnini especially enjoying his team’s surge, hitting shots from all over the floor and capping the run with a three to open a 39-14 margin.
It took Netanya almost six minutes to score its first points of the period, but Eric Alfasi’s team never threatened to challenge Maccabi, which led 49-26 at the break after another Blu triple.
Tel Aviv seemed to be sailing to the win in the second half until Travis decided to attack Blu, spoiling what should have been a truly festive evening.