Maccabi Hunter Haifa hung tough against the Indiana Pacers for three and half quarters, but were outpaced in the final frame by Indiana as they fell 108-89 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday night. Former NBA star Josh Smith led Maccabi with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Angel Rodriguez exploded for 15 points and four assists in the loss. Captain Oz Blayzer and Samardo Samuels chipped in 14 points apiece while Brandon Bowman dropped 11 points.
Seven Pacers players scored in double figures as former Indiana University All-American Victor Oladipo tallied 18 points, five rebounds, four assists, and five steals. Both teams had a host of turnovers on the evening. Maccabi Haifa committed 26 and the Pacers had 23 giveaways, with Oladipo and Turner each amassing five.
“This game we played much better, we started the game not good, defensively, very very soft, but we picked up our defensive and it helped us stay in the game,” said head coach Offer Rahimi. “Tougher defense and taking care of the ball were the keys to the game.”
“At some point in the game, we were playing with so much confidence that we got ourselves back in the game,” said Rodriguez.
After taking a 5-4 lead on a Rodriguez and-one, the Pacers went on a 10-0 burst to grab a 14-5 advantage. Maccabi dug themselves into an early hole, trailing 36-16 at the end of the first period — turning the ball over 11 times. The Greens ensued on a 10-0 run of their own in the second frame thanks to sparkplug Angel Rodriguez who helped tighten the score at 40-28. Haifa finished the first half down by 12 points, 62-50, after Bowman hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Maccabi outscored the Pacers in the second and third quarters as they chipped away at the deficit. Haifa twice made it a three-point game — including 8 straight points from Blayzer who nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. Indiana reeled off a 14-1 run over a 3:30 stretch to take a 82-66 lead. The Pacers closed the show in the fourth by pouncing on Maccabi to earn a 108-89 victory over Haifa.