By Panos Katsiroumpas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
In the 6th week of the top 16 the Magnifying Glass will focus on the big game in Istanbul between Galatasaray and Maccabi.
Maccabi Tel Aviv escaped with a huge victory with a last minute 3pointer from Pargo. Galatasaray had important absences mostly in their offensive balance with Micov and Arroyo injured and both out of the game. Primarily Guler in the 1st half and Arslan in the 2nd half were looking for creations. They both performed well with good penetrations and weak side passes. On the other side Carter was looking for isolation plays, or execution after pass and dribble.
Maccabi was looking to post Sofo but the defense especially of Patrick Young was huge. Both Guler and Young did exceptional work in switching defensive plays. The 1st half was balanced with Maccabi using also some zone defenses and both teams looking to take the most in transition plays.
In the 2nd half Galatasaray used zone defense with 1st priority to control the tempo, stop the penetrations and protect the paint. Maccabi didn’t react well, with little movement without the ball, a lot of dribbling and gaps in offense that helped defense to close out quickly without taking risks. The Turkish team took a 10 point lead at that time but then was the time of Devin Smith.
Ohayon and mainly Devin Smith helped Maccabi to come back. Ohayon set the pick n roll plays with both forwards Smith and Landesberg
going to the wings and wait the pass. In the majority of the plays the help was coming from Erceg in the weak side and Maccabi found passes for Smith that executed great scoring big time 3points shots. Moreover when he didn’t choose the execution he put the ball on the court against Erceg who was slow and couldn’t stop him. He finished either with penetrations or split out passes for open shots from Landesberg.
Galatasaray on the other side tried to put pressure in the post with Erceg having miss match against every power forward of Maccabi except Joe Alexander. He scored some baskets inside the paint but in total Maccabi took more from the offensive miss matches against Erceg and this was the key of the game.
The defense of Patrick Young was huge in the final minutes. With Smith and Randle fouled out Young manage to defend everybody in switches and helped his team comeback and lead the game to overtime. His is the new trend in the market of athletic and quick undersized centers that can give his team huge defense and offensive finishes.
In the end the game could have gone both ways and it was decided by a huge 3point shot from Pargo in the last seconds. Some decisions of the referres were questionable especially the goaltending in the last possession of Galatasaray. Still it was a very difficult decision.