Maccabi Tel Aviv were firing on all cylinders against an overmatched Hapoel Eilat, winning 95-77. Terrific first half play by Andrew Goudelock and Sylven Landesberg set the table for the 18 point victory.
Head Coach Erez Edelstein was certainly happy with the performance of his team prior to a Euroleague tilt against Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid on Thursday night. It took Gal Mekel some time to get into the groove but once he found his rhythm he ended up scoring 15 points while dishing out 4 assists which was definitely a good sign for Maccabi as the point guard position will be key later on this week.
Sonny Weems made his Israeli league debut and scored 11 points in 13 minutes while chipping in 6 assists and Andrew Goudelock’s shooting spree (22pts 4/6 2-pt, 3/4 3-pt) gave the fans a chance to serenade both of the newcomers. Guy Pnini also popped in 15pts on 5/6 from downtown to the delight of the locals.
Maccabi went off to the races early on taking a ten-point lead after the first quarter 27-17 thanks to Goudelock and Landesberg (20pts) The second frame was more of the same as the Yellow & Blue extended their lead to 53-42 at the break. Meanwhile Victor Rudd’s 7 rebounds and center Colton Iverson’s play kept Oded Katash’s Eilat at Bay.
The third quarter saw the visitors make a game of it cutting down the Maccabi lead to just eight points with ten minutes remaining thanks to center Robert Rothbart (10pts), Landon Milbourne (18pts) and Sir’Dominic Pointer (20pts, 7rbs).
If there were any doubts as to who was the team in charge tonight Maccabi put that question to bed in the first minute of the closing quarter as a pair of 3-pointers by Pnini & Goudelock gave the hosts a 14 point lead and the Yellow & Blue never looked back running away with the 95-77 win.
Maccabi Tel Aviv Head Coach Erez Edelstein spoke to the press following the game and opened up with the key to the victory:
“Chag Sameach to all. Everything begins with defense and today we played well defensively and that opened up the offense which in turn makes everything a lot easier.”
Ups & downs:
“We had some ups and downs where we were leading by 20 points and then it went down to 10 points. It’s still early in the season and these things usually happen at this point of the year. We will have to figure out how to handle these issues as time goes on.”
On the defensive game:
“There’s not one player who doesn’t know what to do on the defensive side of things. We watch video clips on how to improve but we will still need to continue working on our defensive game. We know what we have to do and we are all working hard to correct the problems that we have.”
Thursday’s contest against Real Madrid:
“We need to be at our best, with tremendous energy and terrific defense. With the support of our fans we will be able to perform our best against Real Madrid.”