Maccabi Tel Aviv stopped Efes’ streak

2020-03-04T22:04:08+00:00 2020-03-04T23:09:18+00:00.

Aris Barkas

04/Mar/20 22:04

After 12 road wins, Anadolu Efes was beaten in Israel after a night to remember.

By Eurohoops team/

With 9.6 seconds left and after a two-game absence, Shane Larkin got the ball for the final shot. Deni Avdija made his shot difficult, Larkin missed and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv got the 77-75 win over Anadolu Efes.

Scottie Wilbekin with 21 points and the two free throws that decided the outcome of the game proved to be once again the leader of Maccabi, while Othello Hunter with 15 points and 12 rebounds made things happen in the paint.

The hosts have a 19-8 record after this result, good enough for the fourth spot of the standings, while Efes remains on the top with 23-4, in need of one win in order to secure the home-court advantage in the playoffs.

Maccabi had an impressive start in the game with a 21-11 lead after the first quarter. Anadolu Efes‘ reaction was a stellar second period with a partial 31-15 score which ended with Krunoslav Simon scoring nine points in the quarter and the score 42-36 in favor of the guests.

Maccabi got back the lead in the third quarter (51-50) after a Wilbekin three, for a total of 17 points at the 25th minute of the game. Efes once more reacted with a 9-1 run (59-52) but the hosts entered the last period trailing just by two (59-57).

Jalen Reynolds tied the score at 59 in the first possession of the fourth quarter, setting the stage for the big finish.

With Efes getting a 69-61 lead after one more 8-0 run, Avdija and Angelo Caloiaro answered with their own 10-0 run to tie the score at 71. Two buckets by Hunter gave Maccabi a four-point advantage (75-71) and Efes tied the score again with a four-point play by Vasilje Micic with 34 seconds left. Wilbekin scored, Larkin missed and Maccabi won.

Micic and Simon with 14 points each led a balanced effort for Efes.

The game was held with 5000 fans in the stands, as a precaution from the coronavirus infection after the decision of Israeli authorities.

“I cannot put this win over some others”

While this result can be considered a statement win for Maccabi, coach Giannis Sfairopoulos preferred to stay grounded when he was asked if it was the biggest win of the season: “I cannot say that this is the biggest win. We made so many important wins, big wins, home and away. For sure, when you play against the best team, with only three losses, it’s a very important win, but I cannot put this one over some others.”

And veteran big man Othello Hunter agreed, giving also a credit to Maccabi fans: “We had a great team come into our house, and we just decided to play as hard as we can. We didn’t have all our fans, but the fans who were here, they brought it tonight. To be honest, both teams wanted it. We just kept fighting. It was up and down, but we just kept fighting.”

Photo credit: EuroLeague