Summary: Oberdeiro - Real Madrid 84:78 (Sport1)
1. There was great joy last night (Friday) in the locker room of Maccabi Tel Aviv at the end of the victory over Anadolu Eps away 64:86, which put the yellows on the track towards entering the Euroleague playoffs.
Next to jubilant players from an early stage of the game, there were quite a few people walking around the locker room area as if they couldn't believe the impressive ability that the team displayed in Money Time after a series of disappointments in the away games throughout the season.
The Yellows finished the cycle in the Euroleague in eighth place, with 15 wins and 13 losses, just like Zalgiris Kovna, Baskonia and Partizan Belgrade, and within a win and advantage in the direct battle over Anadolu Efes, which will have to win three more games remaining than Maccabi.
Maccabi started the game with a storm, leading by two digits very early, and reached its peak in the middle of the second quarter when it ran to a 20:45 lead over the European champions for the past two years.
Anadolu tried to come back in the second half but didn't really get close to the yellows who got an excellent night from Wade Baldwin with 23 points and an efficient and good game from Josh Niebo who scored 10 points and added 11 rebounds.
Maccabi scored 15 three-pointers, with 7 of them already in the first quarter.
"We prepared like every other game this season," said Bonzie Coulson at the end of the game, "we showed a great effort on both sides of the field, we came to play from the opening, something we are working on, to start the game strong, we continued with the momentum and when they tried to stop our run, we responded" .
Josh Niebo added: "It's a big team win, two big wins this week, we played against two big teams, we played together as a team. I'm just trying to step up and do my job. We just played good defense, we did a good job rebounding, and we knew how to get into the game The transition. We're having a hard time with rebounding this season and we did a great job today."
"A great team victory".
Maccabi Tel Aviv players (photo: official website, Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv)
2. As mentioned, last night's victory gave Maccabi Tel Aviv a significant advance towards the playoff struggles.
Estimates say that 19 wins will be enough to enter the last eight, and the Yellows need four wins in the last six games of the season to meet this task, with four of the six games being played at Menora Hall.
Maccabi will host Basconia at home next week, after that it will play an away game against Villerban, which has ended the season in terms of playoff chances, it will host Virtus Bologna and Milan in a double week, which until these games are also expected to lose the chance to advance, it will play an away game against Zalgiris on the eve of Passover Kovna, a direct rival for promotion, and will close the group stage against Real Madrid at home.
"There is no doubt that our situation is much better than it was after the loss to Monaco," admitted one of the senior officials of Maccabi Tel Aviv from Istanbul, "We depend on ourselves, and we like it. We don't like it being said that we have easy games, if we come with this attitude, we We will already lose to Baskonia on Thursday. We need to know how to finish the job."
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Baldwin (photo: official website, Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv)
3. As mentioned, this is Maccabi Tel Aviv's best game of the season outside Menorah Hall, and probably its best defensive game of the season in general.
Maccabi started the game with 8 of 9 from outside the arc, opened a double-digit difference already in the first quarter, and increased to a 25 difference during the second quarter.
The yellows' percentages leveled off in the second half and they ended up with 15 three-pointers from 35 attempts in the end.
The club has been talking since the beginning of the season about two problematic elements in the game.
The first is the issue of rebounding, something that Maccabi has improved at certain times this season, and last night was much better when the team managed to reduce the amount of additional attacks by Andolo to only three.
The second issue is the weak opening of the game, something that was very noticeable in the last few games.
The last time Maccabi Tel Aviv took a significant lead in the first quarter of a Euroleague game was on January 27, against Olympiakos away, when the Yellows scored 4 three-pointers at the start of the game, running to 10:21, but the game quickly turned.
This time the gap that was created was significant and bigger.
Maccabi scored 11 three-pointers in the first half, on pace to break the Euroleague club record of 17 from the 2019/20 season in Baskonia, but in the second half the pace stopped.
"In the second half, the percentages evened out," said one of the team members, "what continued to work was our defense. We played perfect defense for 40 minutes."
The opening stunned the Turks.
Martin (photo: official website, Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv)
4. One of Maccabi's most important players in the game was Josh Niebo.
Just two days after he continued his terrible period with a single point in a win over Fenerbahce, Maccabi's center exploded with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes, and was dominant from the first second to the end of the game.
Nivo was the standout of the yellows in the second half, when he succeeded in quite a few moves to stop the momentum of Andola.
Last night's game was the first after ten games in which Nivvo managed to score in double figures.
In eight of the previous nine games, he scored up to 2 points, saw his playing minutes decrease, and waited for a game to get him back in business.
The Yellows hope that this is the first swallow before an impressive end to the season.
Another player who again impressed was Jake Cohen.
Oded Ketch brought him back to the top five after a few games where the experiment was stopped, and Cohen responded with many smart moves.
"Jake proved in the game against Fener that his place is on the field, Oded went with him and Jake was part of our great start and also scored a very important three in the second half," said the club, "he was very significant in this victory."
"The stars of Anadolu are not in good shape? It helped."
DiBartholomew vs. Beauvois (photo: official website, Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv)
5. Since the victory over Fenerbahçe, Maccabi Tel Aviv tried to ignore the background noise coming from the direction of Anadolu Efes, especially when it comes to which of the team's stars will not play due to injury.
The release of a video of Vasilija Micic from Belgrade the day before the game, which looked like the player was not taking part in team training but was training alone, was supposed to increase the thought that Micic and his teammates would not play.
In practice at Andolo they made great efforts to train all three, Larkin, Micic and Beauvois who was injured again during the game and did not return.
The Yellows said after the game that they were sure that the three would play, "This is the type of game where you come up with an injury and come up with a shot," Maccabi said, "We were not surprised when we already knew they would play, we came very prepared. We saw that they were not in good shape, and that definitely helped."
Euroleague and European basketball
Maccabi Tel Aviv in basketball