Raptors first in NBA to lose to Maccabi in 27 years
TORONTO -- Maccabi Tel Aviv beat an NBA team for the first time in 27 years, topping the Toronto Raptors 105-103 on Sunday on Anthony Parker's jumper with 0.8 seconds left.
Maccabi, the winner of 45 of 51 Israeli titles and three of the last five Euroleague championships, had lost nine straight exhibition games against NBA teams since beating the then-champion Washington Bullets in 1978.
"This is history," Maccabi center Yaniv Green said. "They are still talking about [Maccabi's win over the Bullets] and I'm sure 20 years from now, they will still be talking about this one."
Parker, who played in the NBA for Philadelphia and Orlando, had 24 points, and Nikola Vujcic added 21 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Bosh had 27 points and 12 rebounds in 45 minutes for Toronto, and Jalen Rose had 18 points in 41 minutes.
"They played this game like it was their championship game, and rightfully so," Rose said. "Those guys are hungry for NBA jobs. You don't just go to Europe because you're turning down the NBA, you're going to Europe because you want to be in the NBA so when you're standing up against a guy in front of you that's is in the NBA, you want to prove to anybody that's watching that you're NBA-worthy."
Toronto's loss was just the second by an NBA team in the 28 games held since the NBA sanctioned international competitions in 1987. The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Soviet national team 132-123 in 1988.
"To lose is unacceptable," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "To say, 'To lose to a team like that,' would be disrespecting them. I would look like an idiot to stand up here and disrespect the team that just beat you. You have to respect what they've done, you've got to respect their effort."
Maccabi's Yaniv Green blocked Rose's layup attempt and Mike James' jumper before Will Solomon gave the Israeli team a 95-93 lead with a 3-pointer -- its first lead since the first quarter.
James' driving layup tied it at 103 with 19 seconds left.
But Parker -- isolated with Morris Peterson guarding him -- made a jumper with a hand in his face to give Maccabi the lead. Peterson missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"We got beat,'' Mitchell said. "We knew those guys were going to play hard playing against an NBA team. They came out to prove something. It doesn't matter who you play or how good you think you are, you've got to come here to play."
Many of the 17,281 in attendance cheered for Maccabi. The consular general for Israel in Toronto slapped hands and joined the team in the celebration as NBA commissioner David Stern hurriedly walked off the court.
"Everywhere we go, it's such a great organization to be a part of," Parker said. "We always have great fans following wherever we are. It was really fun, it's fun to be a part of history."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press