Maccabi edge Barcelona, CSKA stay perfect

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Euroleague holders Maccabi Tel Aviv enjoyed a 70-68 home win over Barcelona in European basketball premier club competition match of the week and CSKA continued their perfect run after beating Anadolu Efes Istanbul 78-69 on Thursday.

Real Madrid cruised to a 79-61 success at Alba Berlin, making it three wins out of three in the second group stage featuring two groups of eight teams.

Guard Devin Smith was instrumental in Maccabi’s dramatic victory after sparking an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter and blocking a shot by Barcelona centre Maciej Lampe in the final 10 seconds.

Smith, who finished with 15 points, hit several crucial three-pointers and livewire playmaker Jeremy Pargo also stood out with 20 points and seven assists as Maccabi reduced Barca to just five three-pointers from 24 attempts.

“I predicted we would win if we held Barcelona to under 70 points and we achieved our objective thanks to outstanding defence in the first half,” Maccabi coach Guy Goodes told Euroleague television.

“We should not have allowed them to get back into the game but we ran out of steam in the last few minutes and made a lot of mistakes."

Playmaker Aaron Jackson shone for CSKA with 21 points after nailing nine of 10 shots from the floor, with France guard Nando De Colo collecting 22 and seven rebounds for the mean Russian machine who improved their season's record to 13-0.

Having steam-rolled through the preliminary group stage, CSKA had plenty left in the tank and should have little trouble in reaching the playoffs.

Real, record Euroleague title winners, dominated as Alba were unable to repeat their first-round feat when they stunned Barcelona.

The depth of Real’s roster made the difference as all 10 players got on the scoresheet and four ended in double-scoring digits.

Friday’s games feature a double-header involving Turkish teams as Fenerbahce Istanbul entertain Olympiakos Piraeus while their city rivals Galatasaray visit Red Star Belgrade in a high-risk clash to be played under tight security.

Thousands of riot police will be deployed in and around Belgrade’s Kombank Arena after a Red Star supporter was killed when rival fans clashed several hours before the two sides met in Istanbul on Nov. 21.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Source Reuters

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