Tiktukno: summary of today's events in sports, 24.3 (Sport1)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's great run towards the EuroLeague playoffs continued last night (Thursday) when the Yellows defeated Villervan away 67:85.
Thanks to the victory, Maccabi went up to a record of 17 wins compared to 13 losses, and it may secure its place among the last eight of the factory as early as next week in a pair of home games against Virtus Bologna and Milan.
For a little more than half, it seemed that the concerns of the Maccabi Tel Aviv and Villerban were justified when the French were strong in the picture of the game, and the escape began by Maccabi towards the last part of the third quarter.
The Yellows held Villerban to only 24 points in the second half, compared to their 39 points.
The team's leading trio continued to look great last night - Wade Baldwin scored 23 points and handed out 7 assists, Lorenzo Brown who started the game weak finished with 18 points and Bonzie Colson scored 16 points and pulled down 5 rebounds with the highest plus-minus on the team.
Keep up the great form.
Baldwin (photo: official website, Instagram Maccabi Tel Aviv)
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"It was a very good game," said Baldwin at the end, "Villereban is a very tough team, they are the champions of France, they fight hard all season, it's a tough place to play, with a lot of energy. De Colo is one of the best players ever in this league , so it was good to come play as a team, play a good game, and leave with a victory."
Lorenzo Brown concluded: "It was all down to our defense in the second half. We held them to just 8 points in the last quarter and that says nothing about how good Villerban is, so it's a great achievement for us. The difference between the halves was the communication. We didn't talk enough in the first half, but In the second half we got into things and it helped us."
His group connects.
Ketch (Photo: Kobi Eliyahu)
As you may remember, since the victory over Basconia, Maccabi Tel Aviv has been busy sending very controversial messages regarding the game against Villerban, the leader of the Euroleague table who lost eight games in a row until last night.
The messages were unequivocal - the game in France is a difficult obstacle, the French are good and it is even the most difficult game of the season.
These things did not come out only in the official voices of the club people as a message to the players not to be disrespectful, but in many conversations with the team members, there was a real concern that last night's game could be a stopping point for the excellent momentum the team is in.
"You have to understand, at this stage any small glitch can disrupt everything, and from our point of view this game was a minefield for everything and anything, we knew that it could damage confidence if we lose to a team of this magnitude, and it was a very difficult mental test," said one of the team members after last night's victory , "You are also playing against a wounded animal, a team that is in last place but is tired of losing so many games, and your players also see their situation in the table. It was very easy to get sucked into the situation and come unprepared. An amazing preparation work was done as a system for this game." .
He is also blooming.
Coulson (photo: official website, Instagram Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Maccabi's victory, together with the losses of Baskonia and Andolo Efes, opened a gap of two games between Maccabi and the place from which they enter the playoffs, and tonight Fenerbahce, fifth in Turkey, will meet with Zalgiris Kovna.
The fact that Milan and Virtus Bologna can no longer reach 19 wins, and some of the teams meet head-to-head, make next week's games at the Menorah Hall against the two Italians playoff games.
"This victory gave us the margin, but no one wants to get into trouble," Maccabi summed up their situation, "We want to win both games next week, and secure promotion to the top eight already next week, not get into trouble for the last games."
When the place in the playoffs seems certain, Maccabi wants to aim as high as possible, when the sixth place seems very likely at the current point in time, and there are even some who dare to dream of the fifth place.
The Yellows know that they are already late for the train home, but if they can, they "prefer to avoid Real Madrid and Olympiakos", so according to those close to the team's management, "Barcelona and Monaco are teams that would be more comfortable to meet on paper".
Who will be in the top five this season?
Brown (Photo: Danny Maron)
The one who continued his monstrous form last night is Wade Baldwin, who since the start of the second round in the EuroLeague leads the factory scorers' table.
After last night's game, which was the 13th of the second round, Baldwin is averaging 20.5 points per game, with last night being his third game in a row with over 20 points, while in the current winning streak he is averaging 21.2 points per game.
As I recall, Baldwin has a contract for another season at Maccabi Tel Aviv with an option to go to the NBA only, when Maccabi closed most of the conditions for a new contract with him, but the contract has not yet been signed and the team estimates that they will not reach the playoffs, if and when the mission is completed, without a new contract for the player.
Baldwin's wonderful ability makes many commentators in Europe estimate in recent times that he will take Lorenzo Brown's place in one of the fifth seasons of the Euroleague, when the end of the season, together with the playoffs, will put the stamp on it.
can finish a story at home.
Maccabi fans (photo: Danny Maron)
As mentioned, next week the Yellows will meet the two Italian representatives of the Euroleague at the Menorah Hall, but even before that on Sunday they will meet Hapoel Holon outside.
Maccabi needs to beat Holon to secure first place at the end of the second round in the Premier League, which will guarantee them hosting the Tel Aviv derby in the upper house.
In the meantime, the club believes that there will be no last-minute change in the league game that will close the second round against Hapoel Jerusalem, and it will not be brought forward to Saturday night after the sequence of games in the Euroleague, as Jerusalem requests in light of its playoff series that will begin on Tuesday, April 4.
Euroleague and European basketball
Maccabi Tel Aviv in basketball