Maccabi Tel Aviv snaps Euroleague skid

Weems leads as yellow-and-blue squeaks past Blatt’s Darussafaka 93-92 for first win since November.

January 6, 2017 05:15
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems (left) had 24 points in last night’s 93-92 victory over Darussa

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems (left) had 24 points in last night’s 93-92 victory over Darussafaka and Brad Wanamaker in Euroleague action at Yad Eliyahu Arena.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Maccabi Tel Aviv finally snapped its Euroleague losing streak on Thursday night, claiming its first win in over a month by beating Darussafaka 93-92 at Yad Eliyahu Arena.

It was another roller-coaster game to add to Maccabi’s ever-growing list this season, with the yellow-and-blue taking a 17-point lead into the break, only to find itself down by seven points early in the fourth quarter.

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Maccabi fought back to take a ninepoint gap into the final minute, but only finally clinched the win after Brad Wanamaker missed one of his three free-throw attempts with 0.5 seconds to play.

Sonny Weems led Maccabi with 24 points, with Victor Rudd and Maik Zirbes adding 13 points for Tel Aviv, which shot 26-of-37 from two-point range (70.3%).

Will Clyburn had 17 points for Darussafaka, which couldn’t give David Blatt a win in his first competitive game at Yad Eliyahu Arena since leaving Maccabi in the summer of 2014.

“I know why we can’t play stable basketball for 40 minutes and we need to work on it and fix it,” said Maccabi coach Ainars Bagatskis.

“However, the most important thing today was to win the game and we did that. We have a lot of work to do here. We have to focus on our job and play for 40 minutes. The players need to play, not to think.”

Like so many other times this season, Maccabi got the game off to a dream start.

The hosts scored the first eight points of the night, with Rudd’s three-pointer opening a double-digit margin (15-5) after less than five minutes.

Weems and Rudd combined for 23 points in the first quarter, with Maccabi connecting on 8-of-11 two-point attempts and committing zero turnovers on the way to a 15-point gap (29-14).

The margin reached a record 17 points (33-16) following D.J. Seeley’s basket, a cushion Maccabi still held at the break (53-36).

But with Tel Aviv squandering so many big leads this season, including a 19-point margin against Darussafaka in Istanbul less than two weeks ago, it was clear the game was far from over.

Nevertheless, probably no one expected Maccabi to lose the entire lead in a single quarter, being outscored 35-14 in the third.

A 22-6 run brought the visitors level (63-63). Will Clyburn’s basket to end the period gave the Turks their first lead of the night and Darussafaka took a four-point edge (71-67) into the final 10 minutes.

Darussafaka’s lead reached seven points, but Maccabi responded with a 13-2 run to take an 80-76 advantage midway through the fourth frame.

Quincy Miller’s three, his first points of the season in his second game back from knee surgery, gave Maccabi a nine-point advantage (90-81) with 2:34 minutes to play, and the yellow-andblue held on for a crucial win after a nerve-wracking finish.

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