By Panos Katsiroubas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Maccabi vs Barcelona
A great game that reminded the playoffs or even the Final Four took place in Tel Aviv. Maccabi took a very crucial win against Barcelona with defense as their basic weapon.
Maccabi started the game again with Schortsanitis as the first option in the offensive end and Sofo did a good work scoring early points. After the first minutes the Israeli team tried to run pick and rolls with Pargo and Ohayon and also isolation plays for Smith and Randle. In the early stages of the game Maccabi punished the bad individual defense of Barcelona especially in the perimeter, even in plays that they used Smith or Randle as creators.
This is a big advantage for Maccabi this year, they can product solid creation from four positions in their offense. They have the mentality of last year’s team, even though they miss chemistry and a good outside shooter like David Blu. But still they can create problems against any defensive plan.
Pargo played one more effective game with good penetrations and good decisions in the pick and roll. Barcelona tried to force them to change their plans and players on the court, using Lampe and Tomic at the same time but Maccabi responded well with good minutes from Joe Alexander and switches in defense with Randle and Smith having huge defensive plays against stronger and taller opponents. The crucial possession of Barcelona was an example of that. Smith was on Hezonja and Tyus on Lampe, they switched in the pick and roll and Smith blocked Lampe.
Maccabi used multiple defenses in the game. They started with man to man but they used switches in almost every screen, even if this was not on the ball and in many plays they changed their defense to zone and created many problems to the offensive plays of Barcelona. They risked in rebounds with Barcelona having a lot of second chances especially in the first half but the advantages were major in this kind of defense. Tomic was the only real factor in the offensive game of Barcelona that couldn’t create open shots and find spaces. The defense of Maccabi was very quick enough for the majority of Barcelona offensive plays.
Even though Barcelona had more offensive rebounds and less turnovers they had a very bad offensive night shooting only 35% with 23/67 FG. They had the worst offensive night for them in the season, scored 68 points and most of them under great pressure.
As a conclusion we have to say that Maccabi is a difficult team to play against. During most of the game they like to put the ball on the floor and create plays. All players can attack the basket and create plays for themselves and their teammates. Especially when Schortsanitis is on the court, the opponents defense is obliged to give help, use double teams and close inside, so Maccabi can move the ball and create open shots and penetrations. It was a fair win for Maccabi in a very beautiful game to watch.