Maccabi extends win streak to five with victory at Baskonia
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv extended its winning streak to five games with a strong defensive performance in a 69-87 victory against Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz at Buesa Arena. Maccabi was already ahead by nine points after three quarters but put the game away for good with a 2-13 surge in the final frame for a 6-2 record. Derrick Williams paced Maccabi with 21 points while his low post partners Jalen Reynolds and Ante Zizic flexed their muscles with 16 points apiece. Keenan Evans collected 14 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists and James Nunnally had 12 points. Baskonia has now dropped three in a row for a 3-5 record despite Wade Baldwin tallying 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Simone Fontecchio and Matt Costello both scored 13 points and Landry Nnoko chipped in 10 points in the loss.
Angelo Caloiaro opened the scoring on the break for Maccabi with Rokas Giedraitis hitting at the other end on the next possession. Williams and Reynolds both scored back-to-back baskets as Maccabi was first to pull away at 6-12. After a Giedraitis triple, Caloiaro countered from deep to push the lead to 9-17. Williams continued his strong game with four more points and Maccabi was up 14-21 after 10 minutes. After going 2-of-5 on three-pointers in the first quarter, Baskonia made four straight from deep to start the second frame with Costello hitting twice and Fontecchio converting a four-point play for a 27-21 lead. Reynolds ended the 13-0 run with an inside score after nearly 3 minutes. Maccabi punched right back with a 0-14 surge, featuring seven points from Nunnally and a three-pointer from Evans for a 27-35 cushion. Jayson Granger ended his team’s scoreless stretch of nearly 4 minutes only to see Williams add four more points and the guests led 35-44 at the break.
Baskonia had the better start to the second half with a 7-2 run including a Fontecchio three-pointer to make it 42-46. Maccabi picked up its defense and reeled off a 2-10 run featuring a Williams triple and an Evans and-one to extend the gap to 44-56. With Williams on the bench, it was Reynolds making sure Maccabi was still ahead with four points as the guests were leading 54-63 after 30 minutes. The margin soon grew as Maccabi decided the game for good with a 2-13 run, including three-pointers from Nunnally and Williams as well as a Zizic three-point play for a 58-78 advantage halfway through the fourth quarter. Baskonia would not get closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
Pivotal performer - Derrick Williams feeling more and more at home
Derrick Williams is really settling into his surroundings with Maccabi as he poured in 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting including 3-of-7 from three-point range. He also made both of his free throw attempts. Furthermore, the 30-year-old chipped in 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for a performance index rating of 26. Williams is playing for his fourth EuroLeague team in as many seasons - after single campaigns with FC Bayern Munich, Fenerbahce Istanbul and Valencia Basket - but things are starting to roll for him. He has collected double figures in scoring in five of his last six games including three times going over 16 points.
Maccabi gets job done without Wilbekin
Maccabi was able to push its win streak to five games even though Scottie Wilbekin missed most of the game. The team’s leading scorer limped off the court with 5:29 minutes to play before halftime after an offensive foul as he appeared to bang his leg with a Baskonia player. Maccabi Head Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos said afterwards that Wilbekin had suffered a sprained ankle. Wilbekin had been solid up to that point, collecting 3 rebounds and 3 assists and 0 points on two misses. He was shown jogging in place with about 6 minutes left in the game - though Maccabi was up by 17 points at that time, so he was not needed and did not return the rest of the game.
Telling numbers - Maccabi holds Baskonia down defensively
Maccabi got the job done defensively as Ioannis Sfairopoulos’ men held Baskonia to just 45.9% on 2-pointers. The guests were also able to force Baskonia into 15 turnovers while losing the ball only 12 times - combined with 21 assists. And Maccabi also controlled the rebounding, grabbing 37 boards compared to 29 for Baskonia, including 12 from the offensive glass. Maccabi additionally did a solid job containing Rokas Giedraitis as he scored just 9 points in hitting 4-of-11 shots in more than 32 minutes.
Friday, November 5, 2021