Maccabi Tel Aviv ended the first quarter down by one point 21-20 in a sloppy period that saw the Yellow & Blue turnover the ball 7 times. Andrew Goudelock scored 6 points while dishing out 4 assists and pulling down four rebounds while DJ Seely added 5 points in the host’s efforts. Cedi Osman dropped 9 points for the visitors in the opening frame.
Efes opened up a 7-point lead by halftime 47-40 as they dominated the offensive boards with 8 as Derrick Brown scored 14 points in the half with Bryant Dunston adding 10 points after 20 minutes.
The Yellow & Blue came roaring out of the gates in the third quarter to tie up the contest heading into the final frame with Devin Smith scoring 8 points to go along with inspired play by Maik Zirbes and Victor Rudd. But Efes took advantage of Maccabi’s poor shooting in the last ten minutes as Tyler Honeycutt dropped 13 of his 21 points helping his Turkish side to the win.
1) Maccabi Tel Aviv never got out of the stating block against Efes as the Yellow & Blue played sloppy basketball for the full 40 minutes at home. Let’s begin with 21 turnovers and move over to the fact that the team gave up 13 offensive rebounds in a game that Rami Hadar’s troops were just never present. Is it ok to lose a game? Is it ok to lose at home? The answer to both is yes, but this game was a missed opportunity as it was one that the Yellow & Blue, could’ve, should’ve and would’ve won had they been just a bit more cognizant and aware of what was going on around them.
2) When I saw that Sport 5 and Yediot Achronot did features on Colton Iverson within 24 hours of the game against Efes, I knew that Maccabi was going to be in trouble, something like the curse of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Somehow it always happens that after a player gets some positive publicity, they lay the proverbial egg and that’s exactly what happened with Iverson. The big man never seemed comfortable against the Turkish team, not being able to hang on to balls sent his way, missing easy shots, not grabbing rebounds, it seemed like anything and everything that could go wrong, did. I don’t recall another game that Iverson had like this so far so I’ll just chalk this up as being one of those games.
3) Gal Mekel entered the game kind of by accident when Hadar subbed him in thinking that Yogev Ohayon has just picked up his third foul which ended up not being accurate as it had been Sonny Weems who had been called. It was kind of embarrassing to see the former NBA man come in and go out like a revolving door. Even Omri Casspi tweeted about the lack of respect that Mekel was shown and how he was ashamed of Hadar’s behavior. It’s just strange to see a player like Mekel who was the MVP against Kiryat Gat just a few days not get a minute of playing time for Maccabi against Efes. The same holds true for Sylven Landesberg who scored a bundle of points in limited minutes on Monday night, it just seems that Hadar sees these players as ones who will play in the Israeli league and not the Euroleague. You can’t tell me that Maccabi couldn’t have used Landesberg’s sharp shooting against Efes when very little was going right for the team. Could have the situation with Mekel been handled better? The answer is most probably yes, but as Hadar has said that his job is to win games and ultimately it’s his choice as to the personnel he will have on the floor.
Tyler Honeycutt and Bryant Dunston both played in Israel during this past decade and both showed their qualities against Maccabi. Honeycutt was with Nes Ziona back in 2013-14 and in fact was part of the team that defeated Maccabi that year as well. Dunston played with Bnei HaSharon and Hapoel Holon during 2011-2012 and was remembered as a quality player when here as well and did his late for Efes finishing with 14 points going 6/9 from the field in 31 minutes. Honeycutt was a non-factor during the first half but poured it on over the course of the final half scoring 19 of his 21 points while collecting 8 rebounds to help spurn Efes to the win.
They said it:
Rami Hadar, Maccabi Tel Aviv Head Coach:
“I think that today we didn’t hold to the keys that we wanted at the beginning of the game. That meant a lot of turnovers and offensive rebounds on the other side, which made our game look confused, and the better team won tonight. We managed to hold them back at certain points in the game but when we got to the final minutes, it somehow wasn’t there for us.”
Make Zirbes, Maccabi Tel Aviv center:
“The fact that I played well doesn’t matter to me. I look at the game on a team level and the minute we lose a game, it really doesn’t matter what I did personally. This is just one loss and it doesn’t have to mean the end of our momentum. We just have to get back out there and get over this.”
Yogev Ohayon, Maccabi Tel Aviv guard:
“They controlled the pace all game long. We simply didn’t respond the way we needed to on defense. They played smart and deserve all the credit. We didn’t have the right energy. We lost our rhythm, our offense didn’t flow and we didn’t run. We didn’t do the things we are used to doing. When we turn the ball over so many times, it certainly doesn’t help. They punished us.”
Tyler Honeycutt, Anadolu Efes Istanbul:
“I struggled shooting my three in the first half. I think I was 0 for 5. But I got good looks, the guys told me to keep shooting and they went down in the clutch moments. It’s not easy playing in this gym. We came out strong in the first three minutes, forced them into four turnovers. They had 14 at half, something that we wanted to key on. We’re getting there. It’s a slow process and a long season. Anybody can beat you, so we’re just trying to stay together. We’ve got new players, a new coach and we’re playing pretty good.”