Maccabi Tel Aviv falls to Knicks

The New York Knicks beat Maccabi Tel Aviv Elite 112-85 in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in New York Thursday night.

Tel Aviv, paced by Vonteego Cummings’ 21 points, led 25-20 at the end of the first quarter. But Knicks guard Nate Robinson hit a three-pointer from the left corner to give the Knicks a 27-25 lead with 9:51 to go in the second quarter, and New York never looked back.

Former Iowa State star forward Marcus Fizer, a first round draft pick who played several years for the Chicago Bulls, scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Tel Aviv, which won Euroleauge championships in 2004 and 2005.

Both teams were shorthanded, as the Knicks played without starting center Eddy Curry and Tel Aviv was missing three starters, including former Georgia Tech star Will Bynum and starting center Nikola Vujcic.

The Knicks, led by Zach Randoph’s 16 points, pulled away in the third quarter, taking a 16-point lead in the period. They stretched it to 106-73 midway through the fourth before pulling several regulars.

The preseason game arranged by Migdal Or, an Israeli non-profit that helps underprivileged children, drew some 19,000 fans, mostly Orthodox Jews and Israelis, to the Garden.

It was the first time that the Israeli team had played the Knicks, and the first time that the Knicks had rented out the Garden to play a match for charity, said a spokesman for Migdal Or.

After the game, Maccabi team president told JTA that he was mildly disappointed with the outcome of the game and that it did not accurately reflect his team’s capabilities. “We are a much better team than that,” he said of his depleted roster, adding that Tel Aviv was playing by NBA rules, which include two extra minutes per quarter. “We should get a rematch,” he said.

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