Three-point shooting lifts ALBA to first home win over Maccabi
ALBA Berlin gained its first home victory this century over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv with a 91-86 triumph on Thursday night. The early stages saw several lead changes before ALBA finished the first half strong, taking a 45-35 interval lead. The margin stayed roughly the same until Maccabi mounted a strong charge in the final period, getting within 2 points, but ALBA pulled clear again to improve to 4-8 while Maccabi dropped to 7-5. Marcus Eriksson led the winners with 19 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Christ Koumadje provided 12 points and 5 rebounds and Maodo Lo had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Maccabi’s Scottie Wilbekin topped all scorers with 22 points, Ante Zizic scored 17, Derrick Williams had 15 and James Nunnally added 10.
Zizic opened the scoring from close range before two scores from Oscar da Silva got ALBA on the board. Lo also scored twice to send ALBA ahead 8-4, but a pair of baskets from Williams got Maccabi closer and Zizic finished inside to tie it up, 10-10. Wilbekin and Eriksson traded triples before Tamir Blatt and Johannes Thiemann also hit from long distance for the hosts, helping to make it 21-17 after 10 minutes.
Angelo Caloiaro and Nunnally made three-pointers to briefly send Maccabi in front early in the second, but Ben Lammers, Jaleen Smith and Thiemann were all on target in a 7-0 run for a 28-23 ALBA lead. Two baskets from Jalen Reynolds got Maccabi moving again, and Kameron Taylor’s fastbreak dunk sent the visitors ahead, 28-29. Lammers forced another lead change before Koumadje twice dunked, Luke Simka made a fadeaway jumper and Louis Olinde added free throws to complete a 10-2 run. Williams rescued Maccabi with an alley-oop but ALBA kept growing its lead, as Koumadje responded with his own alley-oop and Lo hit a triple for a 45-35 halftime advantage.
Maccabi opened the second half with back-to-back threes from Wilbekin and Williams, but ALBA responded likewise through Sikma and Eriksson. Wilbekin, Caloiaro and Williams were on target in a 0-7 run to make it 51-48. Sikma and Eriksson – twice – were again on target from long-range to extend the lead to 60-50. Again Maccabi tried to respond as Zizic scored inside and Wilbekin hit from deep, but Blatt was also on target from long-range, making it 65-58 at the end of the third.
Smith joined the three-point party at the start of the fourth before inside scores from Olinde and Koumadje gave ALBA a 72-61 lead. Five fast points from Wilbekin pulled Maccabi closer, 74-69, but inside scores from Eriksson and da Silva kept ALBA ahead. Keenan Evans made a three-pointer and Zizic got a tip-in to make it 78-76 with four minutes left, but Yovel Zoosman and Eriksson rescued ALBA from beyond the arc. Wilbekin gave ALBA hope from deep, but Lo struck inside for an 89-83 lead with a minute left and that was enough for the win.
Long-range shooting lifts ALBA
ALBA’s victory over Maccabi was built on outstanding long-range shooting, with the German champion converting 15 of its 29 three-point attempts (51.7%). Marcus Eriksson led the way with 5 triples, and there were also multiple three-pointers from Johannes Thiemann, Luke Sikma, Tamir Blatt and Yovel Zoosman. The host’s long-range shooting was particularly prominent during the third quarter, during which ALBA made 6 three-pointers and 0 two-point shots, with its only other 2 points coming from the foul line. A pair of triples from Zoosman plus another from Eriksson made sure the victory stayed at home when Maccabi got close near the end.
Israelis help sink the Israeli champs
This was a special night for ALBA’s Tamir Blatt as he went up against the Maccabi team formerly coached by his father David. The point guard entered the action midway through the first quarter and scored a three-pointer with his team’s very next possession. Appropriately, the assist for that shot came from another Israeli and former Maccabi player, Yovel Zoosman. Blatt continued to make a solid contribution to the victory, finishing with 6 points and 5 assists in 16 minutes on the floor. In his first game against his former team, Zoosman also struck 2 key three-pointers in the final few minutes.
Wilbekin reaches milestone
He wasn’t able to celebrate it with a victory, but Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv's star guard Scottie Wilbekin reached a personal milestone by surpassing 2,000 career points in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Wilbekin hit the mark with a three-pointer towards the end of the third quarter and finished with 22 points to take his career total to 2,006. This was his 152nd appearance in the competition, which has seen him average 13.2 points per game in his six seasons with Darussafaka Istanbul – where he also won the 7DAYS EuroCup – and Maccabi. He is the 48th player to reach 2,000 points in the competition.
Thursday, November 25, 2021