By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv suffered an 81-71 loss on the road to Hapoel Eilat in the second game of the best of five semifinal series in the Israeli Winner Sal League. The series now stands at 1-1. Devin Smith led Maccabi's scorers with 22 points and 10 rebounds, David Blu contributed 15 points and Tyrese Rice added 13 points. Game 3 of the series will take place on Thursday night in Tel Aviv.
Maccabi's starters were Yogev Ohayon, Devin Smith, Guy Pnini, Ricky Hickman and Andrija ?i?i?. Smith and Hickman opened the game with three three pointers, but Eilat got fired up, taking a 19-13 lead just past the halfway mark. Smith continued to score for Maccabi, but the hosts went on a scoring run, extending their lead to double digits 27-17. David Blu stopped the run with a trey for Maccabi, but the period ended with Eilat leading 29-20.
More points by Blu from downtown (assist Sylven Landesberg) and Alex Tyus in the paint put Maccabi within six, 31-25, two and a half minutes into the second quarter. The teams traded baskets (Smith and Tyus for Maccabi) until Eilat opened up a 40-29 lead halfway through the period. The pace of the game slowed in the final minutes of the half, and the teams went into the halftime break with the hosts still holding the lead, 42-37.
The second half got underway with a 12-2 run by the hosts, who took their lead to 54-39 after three and a half minutes. Points by Blu and Tyrese Rice didn't help much, and the hosts led by eleven at the halfway mark. Points by Rice, Blu and Smith weren't enough to narrow the gap, and the period ended with Eilat leading 65-54.
A tip in by Blu at the start of the fourth quarter put Maccabi's deficit back in single digits, but once again Eilat opened up their lead, making it 71-56 after four minutes. A drive in the paint by Rice and seven straight points by Smith made it 73-65 with two and a half minutes left in the game. Rice and Tyus scored for Maccabi but there was no stopping Eilat, who walked away with an 81-71 victory over Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in game 2 of the semifinal series. Game 3 will take place on Thursday at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.