Hapoel Jerusalem 69-79 Jerusalem Strasbourg
Strasbourg Head Coach Vincent Collet is a mastermind. There’s no question why he’s also the French National Team coach that features the likes of Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum just to name a few. After falling behind 6-0 early on, his team dominated the rest of the first quarter building up a insurmountable lead ending the opening ten minutes up 25-13 and effectively putting Jerusalem behind the 8-ball for the balance of the game.
Sure there was a run here and there to cut into the lead but each time there was anything substantial going on, Collet called a timeout to regroup his troops in order for them not to lose focus on the ultimate goal. Collet claimed his team’s athleticism was the key against Hapoel on this night and that could definitely be true, but it seemed to be much more than just the players on this night.
Jerusalem began the game like a house on fire taking a quick 6-0 lead, then it was all and I mean all Strasbourg. The French side rattled off a 25-7 run of their own to finish the frame up by a dozen points, 25-13. Rodrigue Beaubois scored 8 points going 2/3 from 3-point land as six other Strasbourg players added their names to the scoresheet. Danny Franco couldn’t find any combination to stop the bleeding during the first ten minutes as he didn’t take a timeout throughout the quarter.
The second quarter began the same way as the first had ended but Franco took out a lackluster Donta Smith who finished the half with no points and started to run the offense through Josh Duncan who came in at the beginning of frame. And what a good decision that was. Duncan paid dividends immediately finishing the half off with 9 points to lead the Reds back into the game down by only 6-points, 40-34.
The third quarter saw Matt Howard help extend the Strasbourg lead to 10-points as the American product scored 6 points to give the visitors a 58-48 lead as the teams headed into the decisive final frame. Donta Smith played with what looked to be some lingering injury issues forcing him to focus more on the defensive end of things as Josh Duncan picked up the scoring dropping 7 points. However, abysmal 3-point shooting going 3/15 after three quarters didn’t help matters as well.
The last quarter was effectively a draw as each team scored 21 points and left the home crowd disappointed that their European run is done with the possibility of only going 2-4 in the games that are left in the tournament.
Unics Kazan 78-68 Maccabi Tel Aviv
The Yellow-and-Blue lost in the Russian cold, falling for the second week in a row to Kazan. The hosts ran out to a 43-32 lead at the half but Maccabi cut the deficit to just four points to begin the 4th quarter down 54-50. However, a terrific final frame by the hosts gave them a comfortable 10-point win to drop Maccabi to a 2-2 record with two games remaining. Sylven Landesberg (16pts) and Trevor Mbakwe (15pts) each collected a double-double in the loss while Gal Mekel made his European debut dishing out 8 helpers. Keith Langford again inflicted the damage for Kazan spring 20points and Anton Ponkrashov dropped 15 points in the win.
Asvel Maccabi 81-71 Rishon Le’Zion
Rishon visited Asvel and came up on the short end of the stick in an 81-71 game. Mark Lyons and Darryl Monroe scored 17 points a piece, while Charles Wright chipped in with 12 points. David Anderson scored 21 points in the winning effort. Rishon dropped to 3-2 with the final game of their group next week at Kataja Basket.