48 hours after the crushing defeat at the hands of Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv continues its streak of "home" games in Belgrade on Thursday evening and hosts weak Alba Berlin. The Yellows come into the game from tenth place in the Euroleague with a record of five wins against five losses, and this will be their sixth consecutive home game in Serbia, with a negative record of two wins against three losses in the Serbian capital. Injured captain John DiBartolomeo is absent for the third consecutive time, joined tonight by leading center Josh Nivo.
Alba is last in the standings, with one win from ten matches, while also in the German league they are only third. If that's not enough, tonight they appear in a particularly lacklustre squad, without Sterling Brown, Matt Thomas, Luis Olinda and Giga Smarr.
Maccabi Tel Aviv is sailing. Baldwin/official website, Djordje Kostic
Jaciel Rivero started in the absence of Josh Nivo, alongside Ketch's regular quartet: Lorenzo Brown, Wade Baldwin, Bonzi Coulson and Jake Cohen. Coulson opened the game well with two threes, and along with baskets by Cohen and Brown, the advantage jumped to 5:12 and Alba Berlin called a timeout. Rafi Manko stepped up excellently off the bench and hit three consecutive threes that lifted Maccabi Tel Aviv to a double-digit advantage. In the end, the quarter ended with a 14-29 advantage for the Yellowjackets.
Maccabi Tel Aviv's momentum did not stop at the start of the second quarter, when Ketch's group continued to press the pedal. Tamir Blatt sniped twice from beyond the arc, Lorenzo Brown repeatedly penetrated unhindered and the advantage reached a new high, with a 17-40 home advantage. Alba's Gabriel Procida reset the handle and with seven straight points shrank to just 7:43, causing Katsch to take a timeout.
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