Yabusele, Heurtel lift Real in drama vs. Maccabi

2021-12-02T22:47:17+00:00 2021-12-03T00:00:47+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

02/Dec/21 22:47


Real Madrid found more solutions down the stretch than Maccabi Tel Aviv with two French warriors in particular.

By Eurohoops team/ info@eurohoops.net

With six seconds to play and the score tied at 70 between Real Madrid and Maccabi Tel Aviv, Guerschon Yabusele drove to the basket and made a difficult layup over Ante Zizic that handed the Spanish team a tough 72 – 70 win. It’s the sixth straight EuroLeague victory for the Blancos and the longest streak in the competition.

Derrick Williams was the one to hit the game-tying 3-pointer for Maccabi in the previous play. Real had taken a 70 – 67 lead after five straight points by Thomas Heurtel and a dunk by Edy Tavares that capped a 12 -2 run in less than four minutes after Maccabi went up 58 – 65 with 4:48 remaining.

Yabusele and Heurtel finished with 15 points and five rebounds apiece with the latter also dishing out five assists. Vincent Poirier added 11 points and five boards to help Real get the win.

“That is what the coaches drew so I had to get ready, get the ball and just tried to score the ball and win the game,” Yabusele said on his game-winner. “We had to stay together. This was really important. We played in our home court, so for sure, we needed to stay together, play defense, offense and just win or lose, we have to stay together. That’s what we did tonight and we got this tough win and are really happy about it.”

Scottie Wilbekin led Maccabi scorers with 14 points but shot 4-14 from the field. He also had five assists. Zizic and Keenan Evans dropped 11 points each for the Yellows that suffered its third straight loss, remaining without a win in Madrid in the last eleven years.

“I congratulated our players in the locker room because of the game that we had tonight,” Maccabi coach Giannis Sfairopoulos said. “We controlled the game and I think that we deserved to win. Small details judged the game in the end.”

After a balanced (37-38) first half, Maccabi closed the third period with a 50 – 59 lead. Real Madrid turned the tables completely around in the final quarter and particularly the last minutes by forcing Maccabi to multiple wrong choices on one end and hitting some crucial shots on the other.

A perfectly scheduled and executed play

Yabusele was the ideal man to put Pablo Laso’s plan into action in the play that decided the game since the Real coach needed someone who could carry the ball to the basket in an iso situation.

“The conversation [in the final timeout] was pretty clear,” Laso said. “We thought that probably we were going to go with a big squat, trying to switch in every ball screen, so somehow I tried to give the ball to somebody who could attack the basket quick without a pick-and-roll. That way, that was going to be a straight one-on-one. That’s what we did and Guerschon [Yabusele] did it great. The attack was right and he got the winning basket.”