By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
At the bottom end of the latest two-game week of the 2022-23 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season, Nemanja Nedovic logged five of his team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter of the Round 10 affair. Hassan Martin recorded six of his own 11 points in the last ten minutes.
“This is proof that these guys are very tough. Now, they believe,” was the immediate reaction of the winning side’s play-caller, Ivanovic, to the narrow win, “Considering how the game developed, I think we deserved the victory.”
“Physicality was crucial. That was a very athletic and strong physical team,” added Rhode Island product Martin, “We could not let them punk us. We had to be strong from the tipoff, be really aggressive on the defense and offense.”
Nevertheless, former Crvena Zvezda player Lorenzo Brown was all over the place in familiar territory. Driving the Israel giant, he poured 23 points with 7/16 field goals plus seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals. But fell short of sinking a game-winning buzzer-beater, similar to the January 2021 visit as a member of Fenerbahce Beko.
It was a grind with plenty of help from the fans packing Aleksandar Nikolic Hall. The reigning AdmiralBet ABA League champions, and league and cup holders in Serbia, were brilliant in defense, forcing tough options for Maccabi down the stretch and 15 turnovers overall for the night. They made it up to 4-6 with a third straight win in EuroLeague, also a third win in a row at home after dropping the opener.
“It wasn’t pretty, especially the last two minutes,” Nedovic described the team effort, “The win is what is important. I think we showed great character when Maccabi made its run. In the end, our defense won us the game.”
Following a sluggish start, Maccabi dug its way out of an early double-digit hole but the biggest lead was limited to one point. “Obviously, a tough loss for us,” confessed Oded Kattash, “In the end, it comes to last-second actions of individuals. We came out in the second half much more concentrated. Basically, we lost the game in the first half not the second. But we kept fighting, that’s a positive. We just need to get better.”
Apart from Brown, Roman Sorkin provided pick-and-roll options and set his EuroLeague personal best at 16 points. Damaging the comeback bid, Jarell Martin fouled out with one minute left in the third quarter. Rafi Menco (illness) was sidelined along with Jake Cohen and Yiftach Ziv.
Coming up next for the team guided by Ivanovic is the ABA edition of the eternal derby versus Partizan Mozzart Bet Monday. Back to the premier club continental competition of Europe, another home fixture with Virtus Segafredo Bologna emerging as the Round 11 opponent next Friday.
The Yellows will be up against Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem gunning for a 6-0 start in Israel’s Winner League Sunday. Down to 5-5 in EuroLeague, the search for the first win on the road continues with a visit to FC Bayern Munich Friday.
Photo Credit: EuroleagueBasketball.net