Maccabi snaps a six-game losing streak versus Crvena Zvezda

2024-03-14T21:13:06+00:00 2024-03-14T23:16:18+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

14/Mar/24 21:13

Digging its way out of an 18-point hole with a brilliant response after the break, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv wins in Belgrade

By Eurohoops Team/

From slow offense in the first half and an 18-point deficit, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv stormed back to defeat Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet on Thursday.

Securing a win, 84-80, in Stark Arena improved their Turkish Airlines EuroLeague record to 16-13 with a third straight win in the Regular Season.

After six losses in a row in the head-to-head series versus the Belgrade outfit, the win was the first since 2013.


Scoring half of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, Josh Nebo also pulled down 13 rebounds to go with three blocks and one assist. “We had to exert a lot of energy in the second half to just cut it close. So, I am very tired but happy to get a win,” noted the 26-year-old center.

The league leader in offensive rebounds, Nebo grabbed eight more against the reigning league and cup champions of Serbia. A team total of 17 added to the league-high 13.0 offensive boards per game for the Yellows.

In his 11th double-digit scoring showing in a row, Wade Baldwin IV piled up 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and one steal in a tenth consecutive win across all competitions. “We are trying to get any win possible to reach that top six,” he referred to a bid for a direct berth in the Playoffs of the EuroLeague.

Behind 6/11 from the field, Bonzie Colson scored a game-high 23 points. Roman Sorkin (knee) was the only player missing Round 29 for the team coached by Oded Kattash.

“I told my guys that the only way we can back into the game is together, but we had to react, be aggressive, and play the right way. We had to relax a little bit. We were nervous in the first half,” the Israeli tactician revealed the halftime motivation, “We showed character. We changed the momentum.”

Besides Milos Teodosic, Trey Thompkins, and Nikola Topic remaining sidelined, Branko Lazic and Nemanja Nedovic were late scratches, further limiting options for Giannis Sfairopoulos. Accidentally hit by Colson with 2:21 left in the fourth quarter, Yago Dos Santos exited due to a head injury after producing a team-high 20 points and a game-high seven assists.

“Because of the lack of guards. We were missing players because of injuries. I want to congratulate the players for the fight that they gave. They fought very hard until the end,” Sfairopoulos reacted to a losing display against his former team from 2018 to 2022.

“In the first half, we played our game, followed the plan, played great defense, we disorganized their offense,” furthered the Greek tactician, Maccabi changed tactics, used smaller lineups, and put pressure on our guards. This disorganized our offense. They scored fast break points in the third quarter from our mistakes.”

A key stretch

The team based in Belgrade is set to stay at home throughout the upcoming double-game week. Panathinaikos Aktor visits on Wednesday and Virtus Segafredo Bologna follows on Friday. On Sunday, an away fixture opposite Cibona creates an opportunity to improve a leading 19-3 in the AdmiralBet ABA League.

From switching to Israel’s Ligat Winner Regular Season and Hapoel Afula on Saturday, the Tel Aviv outfit gets LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Tuesday and FC Bayern Munich on Friday in EuroLeague’s two-game week. A 13-3 record describes the ongoing effort in defending the domestic league championship.

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