ASVEL completes season sweep of Maccabi
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne outscored Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 26-43 in the middle two quarters en route to a 67-74 victory over the Israeli champs in a makeup game from Round 30 on Sunday night at Menora Mivtachim Arena. Norris Cole scored 17 points against his former team as ASVEL snapped a six-game losing streak to improve to 13-20 on the season. Guerschon Yabusele posted 9 points and 10 rebounds and Antoine Diot was 3 for 3 from downtown for 9 points for the winners. Dragan Bender paced Maccabi with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks, Scottie Wilbekin and Tyler Dorsey added 14 points apiece and Ante Zizic amassed 12 points and 8 boards in defeat. The loss dropped Maccabi to 13-19 on the season.
Maccabi got points on its first three possessions with Chris Jones and Bender each getting points and assists in a 7-0 start. Diot and Cole got ASVEL rolling and a three by Cole gave the visitors their first lead, 9-10, after 5 minutes. Jones scored in transition and picked off a pass that led to another fastbreak score as Maccabi regained control. A transition triple by Wilbekin made it 18-12. It became a 9-0 run that Chris Jones capped with free throws for the game's first double-digit lead, 22-12. Amine Noua drew ASVEL within 22-14 at the end of the opening quarter. Paul Lacombe provided a spark with a foul drawn and a mid-range jumper as ASVEL trimmed the deficit to 4 early in the second quarter. A three by Noua made it 23-21. Bender scored Maccabi's first basket of the quarter after 4 minutes with a ferocious slam-and-one. Bender became the defensive star with a block that led to a Dorsey triple and a steal that resulted in a TJ Cline free throw for his first EuroLeague point and a 32-26 lead. A three by Cole kept ASVEL close and Charles Kahudi scored the next 4 points to push the visitors ahead. Yabusele completed a 0-10 ASVEL run with a three-pointer. Free throws by Wilbekin and Yabusele sent the teams to the locker room with the visitors ahead 34-37.
Diot opened the second half with a three, but Maccabi kept pace with a three by Bender. Cole connected on a three from the corner and Diot from the top of the key to make it 43-50 midway through the third quarter. Derrick Walton Jr.'s first score of the game extended the ASVEL lead to 9 and the third quarter ended with the visitors crusting at 48-57. A tip-in by Lacombe gave ASVEL its first double-digit early in the fourth quarter. Bender stepped up with a pair of three-point plays to bring the hosts within 56-62. Free throws by Yabusele and a jumper by Cole made it a 10-point game with 5 minutes remaining. Cole added a score to silence the arena. Dorsey scored the next 4 points, but ASVEL learned to handle the Maccabi press and Mustapha Fall's slam was another blow to the hosts. More free throws by Dorsey made it 64-70 with less than 2 minutes remaining. Zizic got Maccabi within 4 and, after a timeout, Bender's steal led to a free throw for Elijah Bryant to make it 67-70 with 43 seconds to go. A put-back slam by Fall all but wrapped up the win for ASVEL.
Norris Cole made his EuroLeague debut with Maccabi in the 2017-18 season and in his second visit to Tel Aviv since he left, the point guard was at his best. He led ASVEL with 17 points – 8 more than the next closest players. He scored a pair of baskets in the middle of the fourth quarter to give ASVEL its biggest lead, 56-68, and remained on the floor late in the game despite 4 fouls to help see off a Maccabi comeback.
No number said more about his game than three-point shooting. ASVEL was 9 for 19 from downtown (47.4%), while Maccabi made just 4 of 20 (20%). In a game decided by 7 points, the extra threes ASVEL made above its season average (34.7% entering the game) and the few Maccabi missed below its average (35.2%) made all the difference.
Did you know?
ASVEL became the first French club to defeat Maccabi in Tel Aviv since 1996. Five different French squads combined to lose 11 games since Limoges CSP triumphed in the 1996-96 EuroLeague regular season. ASVEL and Pau-Orthez each lost three times, Limoges and Le Mans lost in Tel Aviv twice and Elan Chalon once.
Maccabi will have little time to recover as it hosts Khimki Moscow Region in a makeup game from Round 24 on Tuesday, April 6. ASVEL will finish its season in Moscow on Thursday, April 8, when it faces CSKA.
Sunday, April 4, 2021