By Amy Samin
In a game with lots of highlights potential but not much suspense, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv claimed an easy 94-67 victory over Barak Greentops Netanya in Nokia Arena. David Logan was one of five players scoring in double digits with 15 points. Lior Eliyahu scored 14, Shawn James had 13 points, and Devin Smith (9 rebounds) and Yogev Ohayon (8 assists) had 12 points each.
Starters for Maccabi were Shawn James, Devin Smith, Yogev Phayon, Ricky Hickman and team captain Lior Eliyahu. Although Netanya lit up the scoreboard first, Maccabi soon went on a 9-0 scoring run, thanks to buckets by James, Ohayon and a three pointer from Guy Pnini. Three trips to the charity stripe helped the visitors pull within four, 11-7 after over three and a half minutes of action. But Hickman, Eliyahu and Smith kept Maccabi's lead comfortable, and the period ended with the hosts leading 21-13.
Maccabi continued to play well as the second quarter got underway, with points by Darko Planinic, a twirling fastbreak layup by Eliyahu and a catch and shoot from outside the arc by David Logan making it 32-15 after three and a half minutes. Netanya scored a few free throws, but a layup by Sylven Landesberg, points by Moran Roth and Pnini, and another trey by Logan combined to give Maccabi a twenty point lead, 40-20 just past the halfway mark. Netanya played hard on defense, but it didn't help them much as Logan and Landesberg scored for Maccabi. A buzzer beater for Netanya sent the teams into the halftime break with the score 49-29.
The third quarter got off to a slow start for Maccabi, while Netanya managed a run that narrowed the gap to 53-40 just before the halfway mark in the period. Maccabi stepped up their defense, while a triple by Smith, a bucket by James and a huge three by Logan (soon followed by a 360 dunk by Logan off the fastbreak) ended the quarter with Maccabi leading 65-42.
The fourth quarter saw some dazzling plays, including a reverse lay-up for Logan, a sweet drive in the lane for Landesberg, and a buzzer-beater from downtown by Ohayon, making it 72-50 after nearly three minutes of play. Netanya kept chipping away at Maccabi's lead, but points by James, Smith and Eliyahu had the home team holding an 84-58 lead with three and a half minutes remaining. Eliyahu added a steal plus dunk and Hickman contributed a deuce and a trey on the way to Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv's 94-67 victory over Barak Greentops Netanya in the final game of the Israeli Winner Sal League regular season. On Thursday Maccabi will face arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv in the first game of the best-of-five quarterfinal series.
Maccabi: Logan 15 points, 3 steals; Eliyahu 14 points4 assists, 3 blocks; James 13 points, 3 rebounds; Smith 12 points, 9 rebounds; Ohayon 12 points, 8 assists; Landesberg 9 points; Hickman 8 points; Planinic 5 points; Pnini 4 points; Roth 2 points.