Maccabi Tel Aviv got their revenge for last season’s playoff ousting last night defeating Eilat 87-80 in the Winner Cup Final at the Drive-Inn Arena in Tel Aviv.
Devin Smith, the Yellow-and-Blue small forward who had been injured near the end of last season scored a bucketful of points ending the evening with 26 while adding 9 rebounds in the win. Jordan Farmar chipped in with 17 points, 6 boards and 8 assists while captain Guy Pnini scored 14 points of his own nailing four 3-pointers. The victory gives coach Guy Goodes some much needed confidence prior to the club’s trip to the United States where they will play a pair of games against Milano in Chicago and New York. After last year’s dismal end, Goodes and Maccabi have captured two preseason titles setting the tone that they will be a force to be reckoned with this year.
After the sides were knotted up at 17 a piece early on in the second half, Maccabi went on a 14-3 run but headed into halftime with a slim 3-point lead 39:36. Afik Nissim and Elishay Kadir helped give Eilat a shock 46:43 lead but Devin Smith’s 9 points at the end of the third quarter put Maccabi back in the driver’s seat where they would remain for the balance of the game winning 87:80.
Arik Shivek’s Eilat team played valiantly, however the normally reliable Khalif Wyatt scored only 6-points for the Red Sea club as CJ Leslie had to pick up the scoring slack with 19 points and 8 rebounds as Elishat Kadir put home 17 points in the loss.