When a certain sequence of actions is repeated enough times, even if it is bad for us, it becomes a habit – and Maccabi Tel Aviv, model 20/21, has developed an obscene habit: the Yellows, who have already lost six close games in the Euroleague, got into a drama tonight (Wednesday). : 81 vs. Villervagne in France Meaning: The double week opens on the left foot, and if that’s not enough – the next stop is in Barcelona.
The champion came to the contest, perhaps for the first time this season, encouraging. While the ability is still not entirely convincing, the victories have started to come and the Yellows have accumulated two of these one after the other in the European arena. In addition, Yannis Sapropoulos got back Yuval Sussman, John Dibertolomao and Omri Caspi – who got a rest this time ahead of the game against the Catalans on Friday. But on the other side, an injured animal was waiting. A young team, without pretensions in the Euroleague, which does come from the bottom of the table – but on the way there it managed to make trouble for teams of higher caliber than Maccabi: Barcelona, Real Madrid and Panathinaikos.
And the truth is, at least in the first half, Wheelerban made no concessions to Yannis and his trainees. The Yellows still started well, and this is evident in the high shooting ability outside the arc, but the loose defense that came after them cost them dearly. Mustafa Pal (15), one of the most intriguing chins in the league, was Villarban’s main points producer and left Yannis at a loss on defense – while both Žižić, Bender and Hunter are unable to get along with him. And the difference, like that, jumped to double digits.
Maccabi’s locker room was probably particularly stormy at the break, because in the second half a completely different team came up – at least defensively. Yannis gave an order to double-up every time the ball reached Pal, the Yellows picked up the pace on offense – and it paid off, as the difference suddenly dropped to a distance of just one pass. Whoever caught the reins in yellow, of course, was Scotty Wilbkin. The Yellows’ star was everywhere, stitched 25 points – including 7 in a row in money-time – and led the Yellows, once again, to a close battle. But in the moment of truth, when the ball got into his hands and the clock showed 10 seconds to go, Wilbkin’s three went out.
Now, as mentioned, the Yellows are facing Barcelona – they will be hosted on Friday. A surprising victory on Catalonia’s soil will improve the Yellows’ balance to 9: 6 and bring it closer to the place leading to the playoffs, but with an ability like this – even a victory over the leader will not last long.
the progress of the game
Maccabi started with Chris Jones, Scotty Wilbkin, Elijah Bryant, Angelo Cloiaro and Ante Žižić. The Yellows started the game well offensively, with Wilbkin and Jones warming the handle off the arc, but as the game progressed so did the Yellows’ defensive intensity decline – and they paid a heavy price for it. Pal celebrated with color and a double-digit weapon, Freeman joined him – and only Bender’s high ability from the bench prevented the difference from growing. 24:30 to Wheelerban at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter, like its predecessor, was also a local sign. Pal continued to do whatever he pleased, both offensively and defensively, raising his balance to double digits as early as the second quarter while leading a 2:10 run by the French. Sapropolos, on the other hand, seems at a loss when it comes to solutions to it. Bryant tried to minimize damage ahead of the break, but ten different shots from Wheelerban – led by Norris Cole – kept the lead. Dizzyce’s dunk set up 41:50 at the half.
Sapropolus probably washed his players at the break, because in the second half a much more assertive team came out. The Yellows raised a level in defense, made sure to double-up on Pal at every opportunity, and the duo Bryant offset Wilbkin by a margin and brought Maccabi back to just one passing distance – while both rise to a double-digit balance of points. The same Wilbkin also made sure to sign the third quarter with a huge three and set a 64:67 lead for the French.
The fourth quarter, as befits Maccabi Tel Aviv’s games, turned into a close battle. Wilbkin and Dorby set the tone on the offensive side, but Norris Cole made sure to keep Wheelerban’s difference. Of Yannis Sapropoulos. Maccabi did not say desperate, and a ball ten seconds to the end left it with one last ball behind 3. Wilbkin, of course, took the ball – but his three went out.