Maccabi suffocates Valencia in second half
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv snapped a four-game losing streak by downing Valencia Basket 84-72 at Menora Mivtachim Arena on Thursday night. The hosts trailed 14-18 at the end of the first quarter and 33-35 at halftime, but managed to score 51 points after the break to dominate Valencia. Tyler Dorsey paced the winners with 17 points and 7 fouls drawn for a 24 PIR off the bench. Omri Casspi and Chris Jones followed him with 14 points apiece, while Ante Zizic tallied 13 points and 6 boards in 16 minutes for Maccabi, whose record improved to 11-15. Louis Labeyrie had 18 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting, Sam Van Rossom scored 14 and Nikola Kalinic had 11 for Valencia, which dropped to 14-14 with the loss.
Labeyrie and Van Rossom got the visitors going and combined for all of Valencia’s points in a 6-11 opening run. Rotations worked better for the hosts, as Bryant showed up with back-to-back buckets to make it 12-13. The visitors survived thanks to their dominance on the offensive boards, making up for an unusually low field goal percentage until Prepelic connected from downtown to help his team finish the first quarter up 14-18. Maccabi increased its defensive pressure and focused on feeding its big men inside to take its first lead, 21-20. Dubljevic took over for Valencia with 5 consecutive points, but he found a fierce counterpart in Dorsey, who went for 7 in a row on the other end to keep Maccabi in charge. Prepelic got it all square with a three, 28-28, and even though Casspi tried to hold his team, Dubljevic kept dominating the paint and made sure Valencia headed the locker room with a 33-35 edge.
A basket-plus-foul play by Zizic and a three by Caloiaro brought Maccabi on top, 39-35, right after the break. Van Rossom led the offense for Valencia and hit twice from deep to stay close, although Chris Jones showed up from the same spot and helped the home team retain a 47-43 edge midway through the third quarter. Kalinic took over then with consecutive threes to switch the lead once again, 51-53, but Valencia’s lights turned off after Van Rossom got replaced. As such, Maccabi recorded an 11-3 run in less than 3 minutes to enter the last period up 62-56. Dorsey came out hot and nailed a three and a buzzer-beating bank shot to make it 67-61, which Bender and Zizic extended to 71-61 with a couple of baskets off the offensive rebound with 5 minutes remaining. Valencia tried two playmakers together, but the momentum was already gone for the visitors. Dorsey strung together 5 points from the line and Casspi hit a three that stabbed Valencia’s back, 82-68, entering crunch time.
Tyler Dorsey didn’t start, but proved crucial for his team. He scored 12 of his total 17 points in the second half and most of them came in key moments. He nailed a three in an 11-3 run for Maccabi to build a 6-point lead entering the fourth quarter and scored 5 free throws in a row entering crunch time to seal the outcome.
Maccabi fixed it under the boards
Valencia dominated the glass for the entire first half, outrebounding Maccabi 10-0 in the offensive end to take a short 33-35 advantage. In the second, everything was different. Maccabi retrieved 10 offensive rebounds and Valencia just half of that.
And from long range too
The hosts made just 1 three-pointer over the first 20 minutes but scored 4 early after the break to reactivate the offense and overcome a low-scoring streak in which it did not surpass the 75-point mark for three straight games.
Did you know?
Valencia had never won in Tel Aviv before this game and could not break the trend on this night either. Its only two wins over Maccabi have come on its home floor, including a dramatic 82-80 decision in Round 12.
In Round 29 next week, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv will fly to Athens to visit Panathinaikos OPAP at OAKA on Thursday, March 11. Valencia Basket returns home to welcome Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul the day after.
Thursday, March 4, 2021