By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv has taken a 2-1 lead in the Israeli Winner Sal League playoff series following their 93-67 victory over Hapoel Gilboa Galil at Nokia Arena. Ricky Hickman led all scorers with 23 points. David Blu and Guy Pnini were hot from downtown, scoring 14 points each. Young Ben Altit contributed two massive dunks and Alex Tyus delivered five huge blocks. The fourth game of the series will take place on Monday at Gan Ner Arena.
Starters for Maccabi were Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman, Guy Pnini, Anrija ?i?i? and Yogev Ohayon. The visitors got off to a good start, taking a 10-5 lead after two and a half minutes. Maccabi woke up and claimed the lead off a 6-0 run by Hickman and Smith, then cruised to a 21-13 lead thanks to points by Hickman, Pnini and David Blu. Hickman and Joe Ingles rounded out the scoring in the quarter, which ended with a huge block by Alex Tyus and with Maccabi leading 27-20.
A pretty triple by Smith and a putback slam by Tyus put Maccabi's lead in double digits two minutes into the second quarter, 33-23. Hickman added eight points (including two buckets from beyond the arc), followed by a pair of treys by Pnini and a putback by Blu that extended Maccabi's lead to twenty-one, 51-30 with just under two minutes left in the half. Gilboa didn't do much more than chase the home team around the court, and more points by Blu and Hickman sent the teams into the halftime break with the score 56-33.
The momentum stayed with Maccabi in the third quarter, with Tyus making it 60-35 after two and a half minutes. Gilboa managed to find the basket a couple of times, but Blu and Ingles both sank threes from the left corner and Blu added a drive to the basket that put Maccabi's lead over thirty, 70-39 with less than four minutes left in the period. A two handed slam by Ben Altit ended the period with the score 76-49.
Maccabi's young center continued to demonstrate his skills as the fourth quarter got underway, with another massive dunk (alley oop from Tyrese Rice). Gilboa put together a few points, but Ohayon and ?i?i? combined for nine points to make it 89-60 with two and a half minutes left in the game. Arad Harari added a pair of free throws, and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv strolled away with a 93-67 victory over Gilboa Galil in game 3 of the best of five playoff series.