Maccabi's backcourt ambushes Valencia
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv rallied from a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to grab a valuable 82-85 road win against Valencia Basket at La Fonteta on Friday night. The Yellows were down 48-35 after 23 minutes, but Scottie Wilbekin and Tayler Dorsey combined for 31 points after that to turn the game upside down and let Maccabi escape with its third straight victory. Maccabi improved to 17-8 to stay in fourth place alongside CSKA Moscow, while Valencia dropped to 12-13 and remains seventh. Wilbekin led all scorers with 20 points on 6-for-11 three-point shooting. He was followed by Dorsey, who made 4 three-pointers on his way to 19 points and dished 5 assists. Othello Hunter posted 12 points and 9 rebounds, Elijah Bryant scored 11 and Deni Avdija added 10 for the winners. Bojan Dubljevic contributed 19 points – all of them in the second half – to lead Valencia. Maurice Ndour, Louis Labeyrie, Fernando San Emeterio and Quino Colom had 12, 11, 10 and 10 points, respectively, for Valencia Basket.
Bryant set the tone early with 6 of points of Maccabi's 2-10 lead midway through the first quarter. Having started without a pure point guard, Valencia struggled to find its offensive momentum, so when Colom took the court the advantage was already 4-13 for the visitors. A triple by Avdija raised the lead to 6-16, but San Emeterio and Colom came to the rescue, sparking a 13-2 run that put Valencia in front, 19-18, on a buzzer-beating triple by the former at the end of the first quarter. Dorsey and Bryant hit consecutive treys for Maccabi to open the second, but the joy didn't last much as the home team found Mike Tobey open twice to tie it at 26-26. Ndour later made it 36-29. Bryant and Hunter tried to bring Maccabi back, but another basket at the buzzer by San Emeterio sent Valencia to the locker room up 38-33. The hosts continued strong after the break, using a 10-2 run and back-to-back threes by Colom and Dubljevic to take a 48-35 lead. Maccabi sharpened its defense as Wilbekin showed up twice from deep to make it 50-43, though Valencia managed to keep control thanks to Ndour and Dubljevic inside. Wilbekin didn't surrender, though, and kept punishing the rim from behind the arc to bring Maccabi within 57-53. Free throws by Dorsey and a corner three by Avdija made it even tighter, 59-58, right before Colom gave Valencia some air to close the third period with the home team up 61-58. Jalen Reynolds scored a put-back, Dorsey hit from downtown and Avdija dropped a layup to put the visitors in front, 63-65, early in the fourth. Labeyrie supported Valencia's offense at that point, while Maccabi relied on Dorsey and Hunter to maintain a 70-73 edge with 5 minutes to go. San Emeterio and Dubljevic raised the fans to their feet with a pair of threes that restored a 77-75 lead for the home team. Wilbekin and Dorsey answered immediately from the same distance to make it 77-81, and even though Dubljevic hit again from downtown to make a one-point game entering the last minute, Maccabi found another bomb by Dorsey to take an 80-84 advantage that proved definitive.
Scottie Wilbekin and Tyler Dorsey had an impressive response when things really looked bad for Maccabi. Having scored just 5 points each in the first half, both showed up to rescue Maccabi when Valencia led by 13 after 23 minutes. Wilbekin nailed 4 three pointers in the third quarter to keep his team alive, and Dorsey came up big in the last one with 14 points to cap the comeback win.
Another tight end, another win
Maccabi Tel Aviv got its third win in a row by three points or less after beating Fenerbahce BEKO Istanbul 77-78 in Round 24 and routing Khimki Moscow Region 80-77 in Round 23. Against Valencia, the Yellows demonstrated again they don't tremble when the game goes down to the wire.
Did you notice?
Bojan Dubljevic had to wait until the start of the third quarter to score his first basket, after he ended the first half scoreless. He may have arrived late, but had and incredible performance in the second half by scoring 19 points to boost Valencia first and to keep his team alive later.
In Round 26 next week Valencia Basket will repeat at home as they will host Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Friday, February 28. Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv will welcome Olympiacos Piraeus the same day.
Friday, February 21, 2020