Rebounding best helps Zvezda down Maccabi
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade finished its home campaign on a high with a 76-64 comeback victory over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv. Maccabi recovered from a slow start to control most of the first half, establishing a couple of double-digits advantages before Zvezda battled back to make it 33-34 at the break. The home side dominated the third quarter and continued to control the game with fluent offense and determined defense in the latter stages. Jordan Loyd led the way with 21 points and Landry Nnoko had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Ognjen Dobric scored 13 points, Dejan Davidovac netted 11 and Marko Simonovic pulled down 11 rebounds in a new team record total of 48. Tyler Dorsey led Maccabi’s scoring with 14 points, Elijah Bryant added 12 and Ante Zizic 10.
Loyd’s mid-range jumper and Langston Hall’s three opened the scoring. Maccabi was held scoreless for 3 minutes before Zizic detonated an alley-oop. Omri Casspi added a battling close-range score and John DiBartolomeo hit from deep for Maccabi’s first lead, 6-7. Dobric, Scottie Wilbekin and Dragan Bender all hit triples and Bender also scored inside to complete a 0-8 run for a 9-15 lead. Simonovic rescued Zvezda from deep, but Bryant and Chris Jones helped make it 15-21 at the end of the first quarter. Oz Blayzer opened the second quarter with a long two and Jones made it a double-digit lead, 15-25, with a layup. Hall and Aleksa Uskokovic pulled Zvezda closer from mid-range, but Dorsey struck from deep to make it 21-28. Bryant and Zizic gave Maccabi another double-digit lead, but Nnoko and Uskokovic struck back. Dobric scored 4 straight to make it 29-32 before Zizic and Nnoko both scored off offensive rebounds. Loyd’s long two made it 33-34 at halftime.
Nnoko opened the second half scoring to briefly give Zvezda the lead, before Jones and Bryant hit back for Maccabi. The home team then went on a 13-0 charge sparked by Nnoko and including three-point plays from Davidovac and Loyd. Davidovac drained a triple to make it 48-39. A three-point play from Zizic brought Maccabi closer, but Uskokovic hit from deep and Davidovac penetrated to beat the third-quarter buzzer for a 53-45 Zvezda lead. Loyd stretched the lead to double-digits before Dorsey rescued Maccabi from deep. Three-pointers from Davidovac and Loyd made it 61-48 before a three-point play from Bryant and a pair of three-pointers from Dorsey gave Maccabi hope, 63-57, with 4 minutes remaining. But Simonovic and Dobric hit back with triples and Nnoko added a tip-in to keep Zvezda safe, 71-61 with 2 minutes left. Maccabi’s offense stayed cold and the hosts cruised home.
Zvezda sets rebounding record
A key to Zvezda’s victory was its total domination of the boards, winning the rebounding battle 48-26. That set a new club record in rebounding for the Serbian team, which had previously grabbed 47 rebounds on four occasions. Zvezda’s total of 34 defensive rebounds marked another club record in the competition.
Zvezda from cold to hot in two-point range
Zvezda was badly off the mark from close range early in the game, making only 1 of 12 two-point attempts in the first quarter. But the rest of the game was a massive improvement, with Zvezda converting 16 of its remaining 21 two-point attempts to finish with a respectable total of 17-of-33 (51.5%).
Offensive problems for Maccabi
Maccabi struggled for offensive fluency all night. The Israeli team committed 5 turnovers in the first 5 minutes and couldn’t find any rhythm, finishing the game with 13 assists and 14 turnovers. Maccabi’s shooting stats were poor, making 15-of-31 (48.4%) from two-point range and 9-of-31 (28%) threes.
Maccabi plays a rearranged Round 30 game at home against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Sunday, April 4. Zvezda’s final game of the season comes at ALBA Berlin next Thursday, April 8.
Thursday, April 1, 2021