By Amy Samin
Following the fantastic victory on Thursday night over Real Madrid in the Euroleague, and prior to the tough away game against Efes Anadolu in Istanbul coming up next Thursday, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv added a 103 – 74 victory over Maccabi Ashdod in the Israeli League to their overall record. Eliyahu’s 22 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds earned him 35 index points, while Burstein and Blu each added 13 points and Pnini scored 11 points. The foreign players also made solid contributions to the win.
Shawn James, Yogev Ohayon, Jordan Farmar, Lior Eliyahu and Devin Smith started the game for Maccabi and took a 7 – 2 lead after three minutes thanks to points by Eliyahu and James. Tapiro and Brackins dragged Ashdod back into the game, taking a 9 – 7 lead just before the midpoint of the period. Maccabi, through the efforts of Farmar and Smith, retook the lead, 14 – 12 with less than three minutes left in the quarter. Ashdod responded, but a drive to the basket by Farmar topped off the quarter and put Maccabi up 17 – 16.
Guy Pnini drained a trey from the left corner to kick off the second quarter, and was soon joined on the scoreboard by Richard Hendrix and Farmar. James scored off an assist from Pnini to put Maccabi up 26 – 19 after three and a half minutes, but Ashdod chipped away at the gap and pulled within three, 26 – 23 thanks to points by Karni and Hagag. James scored a three pointer (assist Eliyahu) and Ohayon showed his skills on defense as well as scoring from downtown (assist James), taking Maccabi to 38 – 25. David Blu and Smith each sent home a bucket from outside the arc while James dominated the offensive boards, and the half ended with Maccabi leading 46 – 30.
Maccabi continued to look good in the third period as points by Ohayon, Eliyahu and Farmar took Maccabi to 53 – 32 a minute and a half into the quarter. Ashdod began showing signs of creeping back into the game, but a dunk by Smith (assist Farmar) followed by a drive by Ohayon put Maccabi up by twenty, 60 – 40. After seven points from the charity stripe (by Farmar, Hendrix and team captain Tal Burstein), Pnini added a three from the right wing (assist Blu) to make it 72 – 47. The pair continued working in tandem in the closing seconds of the quarter, with Blu adding a putback and then dishing to Pnini for a dunk, and the third period ended with Maccabi still up by twenty, 78 – 58.
Maccabi continued to play as if it were a two point game in the final quarter, going on an 18 – 0 scoring run that included two three pointers by Burstein, a Blu-and-shoot from the right corner, points in the paint by Hendrix and Eliyahu, and points from downtown by Pnini off a no-look assist by Jon Scheyer. Meanwhile, steals by Hendrix and Pnini and rebounds by Hendrix and Burstein further demoralized Ashdod’s offense. Halfway through the period Maccabi led 96 – 58. Burstein broke the century mark for Maccabi with just over three minutes left in the game, and points by James and Eliyahu wrapped up a 103 – 74 win for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv over Maccabi Ashdod.
Maccabi: Eliyahu 22 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds; Burstein 13 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks; Blu 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists; Pnini 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals; James 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks; Farmar 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists; Smith 9 points, 7 rebounds; Hendrix 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block; Ohayon 7 points, 3 steals, 2 assists.
Top scorers for Ashdod: Bradley 18 points; Tapiro 12 points.