Maccabi Tel Aviv dominated every aspect of the game as they defeated Olympiacos in Greece 80-73. DJ Seely is proving to be a real star scoring 19 points while Colton Iverson added 14 points and 8 rebounds and Sonny Weems chipped in 12 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in the victory. Devin Smith finished with a double-double scoring 10 points and 10 rebounds as Andrew Goudelock dropped 12 points for a complete win by the Yellow & Blue.
Sonny Weems led the way early on with 8 first quarter points going 4/5 from the field while Devin Smith added 6 points and 4 rebounds helping Maccabi to a 24-20 lead on the road after ten minutes. The Yellow & Blue increased their advantage by an additional three points at the half going up 44-37 as DJ Seely and Colton Iverson each dropped 8 points in the frame giving Maccabi’s Head Coach Rami Hadar side confidence heading into the break.
Maccabi continued their fine play outscoring Olympiacos 21-10 in the 3rd quarter to take a 65-49 lead as Seely added 6 more points to his total going 5/8 from 3-point land while Goudelock quietly finished 30 minutes with 7 points. The final quarter saw Maccabi seal the deal sitting back for much of the final ten minutes as Euroleague star Vassilis Spanoulis ended his evening with 14 points.
1) The more I see of DJ Seely the more I like. The guy scores from 2, nails 3’s and also plays lock down defense, no wonder he’s playing more than 30 minutes a night and he deserves every single minute he’s getting. What an X-Factor for Maccabi. Rami Hadar has been using Seely to perfection and his no attitude, no nonsense play has helped the Yellow & Blue to a 5-4 record in the Euroleague, white amazing considering where they were just a short month ago. Seedy also called about the team’s defense being the key to their success saying: “Our defense helped win us the game. We have really improved from where we were at the beginning of the season. We know how to play offense as we have plenty of scorers, but defense is the key.”
2) Colton Iverson has been a real plus to Maccabi as he gives terrific defense and fine offense on a game in game out basis. Against Olympiacos he dropped 14 points and pulled down 8 rebounds in 19 minutes of play. You can’t all much more for a guy who was labelled as the number 2 center behind the disappointing Maik Zirbes going into the season. His ability to make the other team change shots due to his height also adds a dimension that Maccabi hasn’t had in a very long time. I always said about Sofo when he was wearing Yellow & Blue that you can teach him a lot of different things but one thing you can’t teach is height. In Iverson’s case you don’t have to teach it to him and his 2.13 meter frame.
3) How about Devin Smith? Another monster game, double-double 10 points and 10 rebounds. I think we can all agree that it was a good decision not to have him play in the Israeli league and save him for the Euroleague only. He has been a factor in all of the team’s wins and can give Maccabi 30 minutes of play in continental action. Smith is not a youngster and has been plagued by knee problems, worrying the Maccabi brass that he wasn’t even going to be fit enough to play this year. Well that was proven to be false, thankfully for all.
I’ve had enough of the daily rumors that Rami Hadar is being replaced by coach X, or coach Y. It’s truly amazing that every single sports website here in Israel has another report of a German, Serbian, Spanish, Italian or Greek coach replacing the Israeli. All he’s done since taking over for Erez Edelstein is win, improve the team’s defense, create a positive lockerroom and have the players including veterans to buy into what he is teaching. I think that these rumors should be shelved and quieted permanently after a fantastic run of late.
They said it:
“I think that most of the game we played excellent defense. Until the last quarter we played perfect on defense and that gave us the victory. I have capable players to play defense. We are making progress defensively. We are forcing the other teams to play a set game, we are forcing their percentages down, but it’s not there yet.”
“I think this win is a combination of the process that we are going through in Maccabi in two parameters. One is basketball – offense, defense, tactics. And the other is the spirit. The guys played hard, they played accurate according to the game plan and I salute them for the effort.”