Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to EFES Anadolu at home by 20 points, 92-72 in a game that the Yellow & Blue were never really in. After a 19-19 first quarter, the visitors began to pull away thanks to 16 second frame points by Errick McCollum (31 points, 8/11 from 3 for the game) and never looked back as the Istanbul based team took home the win. Vladimir Stimac scored 15 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, Krunoskav Simon added 11 points while Ricky Ledo and Bryant Dunston dropped 10 points a piece. Pierre Jackson scored 20 points, Jonah Bolden contributed 10 points while Deshaun Thomas and Alex Tyus each scored 10 points.
1) Errick McCollum ripped apart Maccabi Tel Aviv, nailing 6/7 3’s in the first half while collecting 31 points in total on a night that he hit everything from everywhere. Errick McCollum? Yes, that Errick McCollum. Does his name sound familiar? If it does it’s probably because he once played in Israel for Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Kfar Saba between 2010-2012. Since then he’s won the EuroCup and been named the competition’s MVP. Not bad. The Maccabi players paid him his dues including John DiBartolomeo, “Extraordinary and he played really well. Credit to him. The defense was solid and he hit some very tough shots.” Norris Cole also praised McCollum, “He had one of those nights and once a guy gets going early, a talented type of player like him gets into a zone. We made some mistakes early in our coverage, he capitalized on it and kept it going all game.” Pierre Jackson also chimed in, “They had a guy who could’ve made shots with his eyes closed.” Coach Neven Spahija had the final word, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone scoring three’s like McCollum.” I hope that we won’t see a display like his by a visiting player for the balance of the season.
2) Other than McCollum who was the key player for EFES in taking down Maccabi, Alex Tyus mentioned that there as another reason why the Yellow & Blue fell and that was because they were flat, “We came out sluggish and a little tired but I think it’s good that we have a game on Thursday, win and put this one behind us.” Cole also chimed in, “It’s just one of those games where they hit everything and we didn’t.” Spahija added his opinion to the mix, “We had a lack of energy and the game against Real Madrid took a lot out of us. We have to continue. It’s one bad day. We have to recover and get back.”
3) The most important thing Maccabi can do is to move on and look ahead to a pair of tough road games, first at Khimki and then the following week at Barcelona. There are plenty of games to go, but it’s a brutal disappointment to lose this Euroleague game at home with the next two on the road. DiBartolomeo spoke about what Maccabi needs to do, “Every game is important especially home games and this one hurts. We will approach Thursday with a fresh mind and new attitude and get ready to play taking it one game at a time and focus on getting better.” Cole also looked ahead, “We play ball, we win some and lose some and move on. This game is behind us. We’ll look at the film and see where we went wrong and what we can do better, prepare for Khimki and go one game at a time.”
I asked Coach Shapija what positives he can take out of the loss, “I was always strong when I lost. Some think that only victories make you better, but that’s not true. You have to understand well why you lost the game and if you can criticize yourself and find out exactly what was the problem, then you are going to go forward. EFES started 0-5 and then they beat Barcelona and Maccabi, no one expected that, but that’s sports.” Yea Coach, that’s exactly why sports are the best and as I quote you, That’s Sports.