On the train – Maccabi Tel Aviv drops Nahariya 89-62! Yellow & Blue dominates up north

Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv dismantled an overmatched Nahariya 89-62 up north in Ein Sara. The Yellow & Blue were in the drivers seat throughout the 40 minutes and cruised to the 27 point victory. Tyler Dorsey led the way for Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s squad with 15 points, Scottie Wilbekin added 12 points, Quincy Acy scored 11 points while Jake Cohen clocked in with a 10 point, 10 rebound double double in the win. Itay Segev notched his career high with 17 points for Nahariya in the defeat.

Quincy Acy and Yovel Zoosman led the way for Maccabi in the first quarter scoring 11 and 7 points respectively as the Yellow & Blue dominated Nahariya over the first frame who received 9 points from Itay Segev as Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s squad took a 29-15 lead after ten minutes. Jeff Adrien and Dominic Waters tried to pull Danny Franco’s team back into the game but Deni Avdija and Tyler Dorsey kept the visitors in front 52-36.

Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Tel Aviv


Nahariya held Maccabi to just a single point midway through the third quarter but Tyler Dorsey and John DiBartolomeo turned up the offense to give the Yellow & Blue a 70-46 advantage after thirty minutes. Segev tried to keep the hosts relevant over the final frame but a pair of triples from Scottie Wilbekin and points by Jake Cohen our the game away for Maccabi as they now get ready for Bayern Munich on Thursday night in Euroleague action.

Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Tel Aviv


3-Points
1) Maccabi Tel Aviv got back Omri Casspi and Tarik Black after both were out injured. Sure they had to shake off a bit of rust which is normal after being out for a bit of time as Casspi played 14 minutes, scored 6 points (1/7 from the field), grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 5 assists while Black scored 5 points and took 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. The key for this game was to get them minutes ahead of the Bayern Munich Euroleague game on Thursday night and help them get back into a rhythm. Coach Sfairpoulos commented on the pair’s return, “Both Omri Casspi and Tarik Black came back after injuries. Omri was out for three weeks and it was very important for them to find some time playing. We also didn’t want to force their playing time after their injuries and that’s why we had them come in and out with sufficient rest so they will find their rhythm and slowly slowly get into their best shape.” Jake Cohen also spoke about the two getting back into action and the bumps they took during the contest, “The game is physical and you have to expect that you’re going to get hit and that you hopefully dish out more than you take. It’s really nice to have them back, they are big weapons and we’re a more dangerous team because of it.”

Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Tel Aviv


2) The Yellow & Blue had two Israeli league games sandwiched between Euroleague tilts against ASVEL and Bayern Munich and Maccabi obviously wanted to pick up a pair of wins which they handily did by dropping Haifa on Saturday and beating Nahariya on Tuesday. “We wanted to record the two league victories and no game in the Israeli league is easy especially on the road,” explained Cohen. “I think we came out well and the starters set the tone from the jump. They were focused unlike on Saturday night so that was a good improvement for us.” Coach Sfairpoulos also complimented his squads play, “We played well from the beginning and concentrated with good defense and we had an early double digit lead which we kept until the end.”

Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Tel Aviv


3) The starters included one Quincy Acy who got Maccabi off to a great start with 11 first quarter points and as Jake Cohen said set the tone. Tyler Dorsey also got into the action leading the team in scoring and it’s clear that both players are starting to really get into a groove playing in Europe, both in the Israeli domestic league as well as the Euroleague. With the two beginning to show their wares, that gives the Yellow & Blue even more options as the roster continues to jell together. Coach Sfairpoulos also concurred that they are both playing excellent ball, “I think that both Tyler Dorsey and Quincy Acy are in the best shape since the beginning of the season. I think they can improve more although so far they have been good and lately they are in their best condition.”

Elad Goldstein, Maccabi Tel Aviv


Overtime
Maccabi Tel Aviv travelled up north via train for the game in Nahariya which was a pretty neat idea considering how much traffic there is during the afternoon hours between Tel Aviv and Nahariya. Even The Sports Rabbi took the train from Jerusalem north for the clash. The coach was content with the mode of transportation especially since his team won the game, “After this result it was very positive to go via train and we didn’t spend a lot of time on the bus in traffic. This was for the good of the players and less travel time meant they were ready to play the game.” Cohen of course has his usual “Jake the Ripper” cynicism in play for this one when asked about the train, “It was cool and I felt very romantic. I thought of writing a journal.”

They said it…
Nahariya Coach Danny Franco, “We came into the game in tough physical shape after having 4 games in ten days, especially due to our depth. We had some players out and Maccabi definitely isn’t a game that is really a litmus test but we have to continue on and battle for the club’s honor.”