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“Climbing the ladder” – DeAndre Kane: Maccabi improves but falls to CSKA 89-86

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Maccabi Tel Aviv hosted CSKA Moscow on Gameday 2 of the Euroleague at Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv and fell 89-86 as the yellow-and-blue remained winless in continental play.Head Coach Neven Spahija’s side put up a valiant fight but couldn’t match the Russian’s firepower throughout the 40 minutes as Nando de Colo scored 27 points and Kyle Hines dropped 14 points to help lead the visitor’s to the victory. Angelo Caloiaro led Maccabi with 21 points while Michael Roll added 15 points and 7 assists in the defeat.

CSKA’s star scorer Nando de Colo came out flying and carved up the Maccabi defense hitting his shot at will, ending the first frame with 11 points. Michael Roll answered for the host’s with 8 points including two 3-pointers as the yellow-and-blue stayed close, down by three 24-21 after ten minutes of action.

The second quarter saw both team’s big men get into the action as Maccabi’s Tarik Black showed off some scintillating slam dunks for 9 points and CSKA’s Kyle Hines worked his own magic with 8 points as the visitor’s took a 4-point, 50-46 lead into the halftime break.

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Maccabi took care of the ball in the 3rd quarter and cut down on their ten first half turnovers as Angelo Caloiaro had a monster frame dropping 9 of his points to give the yellow-and-blue a slim one point 68-67 advantage heading into the final ten minutes. However, Spahija’s squad ran out of gas late in the game and Wilbekin fouled out as de Colo, Will Clyburn with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, sliced and diced Maccabi to help CSKA take the road win.

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3-Pointers
1) Maccabi played better against CSKA than last week at Panathinaikos, but they are still a ways a way. The offense looked more fluid and the percentages were higher, but is there such a thing as a moral victory? Well, there are certainly plenty of positives to take away from the contest. Head Coach Neven Spahija spoke about the game that was, “If we stay together and think positive and we are working like we are lately the results will come. Unfortunately we have a very tough schedule. We have to help out each other.” Angelo Caloiaro added, “We’re coming along with the team and I think we played better, but we want to limit the turnovers. It’s not really a moral victory as we want to win but I think it was important and we have to continue to build.” DeAndre Kane also chimed in on the topic, “You can tell that we are climbing up the ladder after last game. There were a lot of things in the first half that hurt us and they came back to haunt us at the end; turnovers, missed shots that we normally make. I’m proud of the team and the way we fought as CSKA is a good team.” And finally Michael Roll also talked about the topic, “We played very well with just a couple mistakes, more so in the first half. We gave up a lot of easy points on turnovers but that’s a good team. We improved and did things bette than last week. One or two plays and we take that game. It’s hard to swallow that pill but I thought we played well as a team.”

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2) Is Maccabi facing a “Must-Win” game so early in the season? I believe so as the Yellow & Blue desperately need a win on the road against in the worst way because following the game at Buducnost the have a road trip to David Blatt at Olympiacos and then a visit to Barcelona. Michael Roll spoke about the words “Must-win”, “Those words are very bad, but we are going to do everything we can to win that game.” Captain John Dibartolomeo also talked about Thursday night’s game, “Every game is a huge game. We have a short recovery and come back tomorrow to get as prepared as we can. The schedule isn’t easy. It’s important to stick together and how during this time and I believe the results will indicate our growth.” Coach Spahija also talked about the need to win,“I want to win every game. That game will be important to find out how much energy this game against CSKA took from us. We played such good team basketball and to lose by only a few points. Maybe it’s better to lose by twenty and save energy and have them angry going into the game. But I have experience as to how we can handle this situation.”
Finally, DeAndre Kane is last but not least, “We want to win, so for sure it’s a must win. We don’t know what will happen and if we lose but it’s not time to panic. It’s early but we want to get one. So ya it’s a must win.”

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3) Nando de Colo is another fantastic player that anyone associated with the game of basketball knows. Last week Macabi got Nick Calathes and this week it was de Colo. He is a killer on the offensive side of the ball. He is a lethal assassin. Michael Roll spoke about him, “Obviously he’s a very good player and we slowed everyone else down and someone had to score the ball. He was very efficient today and hats off to him.” Kane also discussed de Colo, “He is a great player and you can tell and see what he does every year.” Finally de Colo’s coach Dimitrios Itoudis gave him the stamp of approval, “Nando had an amazing game and was able to lead the team in crucial moments. Creative and execution wise. He constantly occupied Maccabi’s defense with his kick outs and drives to the basket.” If you haven’t seen him play, your must, he is just incredible.

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Overtime
Angelo Caloiaro has been a very pleasant surprise so far for Maccabi. He hustle, shoots and looks like the total team player. He spoke about his development in his first Euroleague season, “I felt comfortable out there. My teammates did a great job and we all moved the ball today. We want to go in there and win that’s for sure and there is no way around it. We’ll come in tomorrow watch film and out in a game plan.” I’m curious to see what Caloiaro’s ceiling is, it’s still up to debate.

Quick Hits
Yovel Zoosman played almost 21 minutes for Maccabi and played like a consummate veteran, “We lost today and CSKA is one of the best teams in Europe as they will make you pay for every mistake. They were the better team today.” The European Under-20 gold medalist continued. “I really enjoyed the fan’s reaction to any of the good things I did today. I felt them in my ears and they helped me push forward. I really appreciated their support.”

Will Clyburn who played in Israel a number of seasons ago and who was the feature of the Sports Rabbi Preview-Interview summed up the match, “It felt good to get the win of course I wish I would have played better but we got the win and that’s all that matters. We’re 2-0 in Euroleague and time to get home and protect home court.”

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Tarik Black tried to take a timeout when he was fighting for the ball on the court, expect that in Europe your cant take timeout during the course of play. Never a dull moment.

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Scottie Wilbekin fouled out in the 4th quarter of the game and Maccabi definitely missed him on the court. It was too bad that the star couldn’t be a factor up until the end of the contest.