Caja Laboral held off Maccabi Electra 76-70
Caja Laboral led almost the entire game en route to an impressive 76-70 victory over Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv Tuesday at Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoris, Spain, to take a 1-0 lead in the teams’ best-of-five Turkish Airlines Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoffs. David Logan and Fernando San Emeterio led a 17-5 push at the end of the opening quarter as Laboral pulled away for good and Maccabi never got within a shot of tying after that. The hosts used hot shooting to take a 15-point lead in the second quarter and later Stanko Barac took over inside to fuel the winners. After trailing 46-32 at halftime, Maccabi rallied in the second half and closed the gap to 4 in the fourth quarter, but Barac, and later Marcelinho Huertas, hit clutch shots to keep the Spanish champs in control. It marked the second time this season Laboral beat Maccabi at home. The series resumes on Thursday with Game 2 before moving to Israel for Game 3 and – if necessary – 4 next week. Barac finished with 17 points, Logan tallied 14 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting plus 5 assists, San Emeterio scored 13 and Mirza Teletovic amassed 12 points and 11 rebounds. Richard Hendrix led Maccabi with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Lior Eliyahu added 12 points, Chuck Eidson 11 and Doron Perkins had 10 points and 9 rebounds in defeat.
Maccabi won the opening tip and struck first when a persistent Perkins regained the ball after having his first try blocked and sank a foul-line jumper. San Emeterio got the hosts on the scoreboard with a two-handed slam after a lengthy two-chance possession. Lior Eliyahu’s speed helped him get a basket-plus foul, but Barac’s size helped him score on the offensive glass. San Emeterio pulled up from downtown to give Laboral its first lead, 7-5. Maccabi head coach David Blatt called on his regular starter, Sofoklis Schortsanitis to come in for Milan Macvan, who was making his first Euroleague start. Maccabi tied it as Jeremy Pargo stripped Brad Oleson and then finished a fast break with an alley-oop slam. After a Barac scoop, Maccabi went inside to Big Sofo for a basket. But the hosts were heating up. San Emeterio drained a triple and then Logan did the same to make it 19-11. Logan lifted Laboral to a 10-point lead before Maccabi called a timeout. Eidson went inside for a basket-plus-foul, however Barac added another basket on the offensive glass and Logan nailed a three to the fans’ delight to end the opening quarter with Laboral in control 26-14.
Logan stayed perfect from downtown with his third three to put Laboral up 15. Perkins responded quickly with a layup and after Eidson blocked Teletovic, Richard Hendrix attacked the basket for 2 points. Logan finally missed from outside and Maccabi gained some confidence, but then Oleson rejected Perkins and Teletovic drilled a three to show who was in control. Pau Ribas brought the crowd to its feet when he sank a three and drew a foul to make it 35-20. Maccabi defense and a pair of second-chance baskets by Hendrix and Eliyahu narrowed the gap to 9, but Laboral found a mismatch and Esteban Batista scored easily over Perkins. Teletovic hit another triple to restore a comfortable Laboral margin, 40-26. Perkins continued to push the visitors, but with no answer for Batista, Maccabi could not get any closer. After Pargo penetrated in the last minute, a Schortsanitis foul away from the basket let Laboral run the clock down on the half and San Emeterio sank a runner at the buzzer to put the hosts up top 46-32 at halftime.
Hendrix scored on an offensive rebound and then dunked thanks to a nice pass from Pargo. The Maccabi defense led by Hendrix and Perkins stifled Laboral and Eidson tapped in a Perkins miss in transition to bring the visitors within 8. Eliyahu added another second-chance score to cap a 0-8 start to the second half. Batista scored Laboral’s first point of the half with a free throw three-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter, but Hendrix kept Maccabi moving with a dunk on one end and a block at the other. Logan and Marcelinho Huertas got the Laboral fans involved, but the Maccabi attack kept generating points too as Eliyahu made it 53-46. Schortsanitis made it a 5-point game from the line. Just as things were going Maccabi’s way, Teletovic threw down a big slam over Big Sofo to reinvigorate the fans. San Emeterio then sank a big three to restore a double-digit lead, 58-48. Following a David Blu basket inside, Pargo made a behind-the-back pass to Blu for another pretty basket. Barac countered with a jumper. Pargo sank a deep three, but a Barac free throw lifted Laboral to 61-55 after three quarters.
Eidson penetrated for a layup as Maccabi continued to claw its way back. Logan found Barac inside and after Ribas added a basket, Barac stepped outside and swished a triple, putting Laboral up 68-57. A Maccabi timeout did not change much as Barac put the hosts up 12. Neither team scored for the next two minutes until Pnini connected from downtown for the visitors. Perkins scored and Pargo set up Hendrix to get Maccabi back in business at 69-64 with three-and-a-half minutes to play. Teletovic nailed a fade-away jumper to give the hosts breathing room and Hendrix came up short at the other end. Huertas drove for a floating layup and Perkins missed from outside as Maccabi’s chances started to fade. Then Huertas went for the kill with a triple to put the hosts up 12 with less than two minutes to play. Maccabi called timeout, but despite a full-court pass was unable to mount a rally in the time remaining and Laboral ran out the clock for an important win.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011