3rd frame key in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s win – Euroleague Round 4: The good, the bad and the ugly

Oct 20, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s strong second half performance tonight saw it trounce ASVEL Villeurbanne 88-69, for its second consecutive win to remain undefeated at home, and hold a 3-1 record after 4 rounds of the Euroleague. Here are a few of my reflections from the round 4 clash.

Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


The Good: The third quarter
In Australian rules football, there is a belief that the third quarter is the most important quarter for a team to win in order to increase its chances of winning the game – which is why it is commonly referred to as the “premiership quarter”. That proved to be the case tonight, as Maccabi convincingly won the third quarter by a margin of 26-11, to go into the final quarter with a 68-52 lead.

Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


“Obviously, I’m very happy with the result,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash told the media. “I think that like the game versus Moncao, we came out in the second half – I won’t say with a different energy, because I really felt that the guys were really committed from the first minute, and we played against a good team with a lot of quality, there are no easy games in the Euroleague, as you see in the results, and especially not in the beginning of the season, especially not in weeks where there are two games. It’s never easy – but it’s the second time that we came out of the locker room, we fixed a few things, and I really liked the way we adapted and reacted today, it gives me a lot of confidence.”

In the third quarter, Maccabi made seven 2-pointers from nine attempts (78%), three 3-pointers from five attempts (60%), outrebounded Villeurbanne 8-4, had 4 steals and caused 7 turnovers. Maccabi was so dominant, that Katash took his star, game MVP Lorenzo Brown (17 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists), off the court with 34 seconds left in the quarter and, after only resting on the bench for a total of 2 minutes of game time until then, the dominant third quarter allowed Katash the luxury of letting Brown rest for the balance of the game from that point on.

Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


“We connected out there,” Brown said. “We are trying to find ourselves as a unit, moving the ball and getting everybody involved. That worked for us tonight. We’re just trying to win as many games as possible and prepare ourselves for the playoffs and get better throughout the year.”

Nando De Colo – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


The Bad: The first 16 minutes and 55 seconds
Just like the game on Tuesday against Monaco, Maccabi let its opponent get a head start in tonight’s game. There was great cause for concern, as the yellow and blue saw themselves trailing 21-15 after the first 10 minutes. In that first quarter, Maccabi lost the rebound count 11-6, and turned over the ball 6 times. Things were not looking that much better at the start of the second quarter, and with 3:05 to go in the half, Villeurbanne was up by 9 points, and the crowd was groaning as they saw their team down 41-32.

“We’re playing against good teams with talent, and there are runs in basketball games, and sometimes that happens at the beginning [of games],” Katash said. “Villeurbanne came with a game plan today, and they defended … in a way that they haven’t defended until now. This is something we didn’t prepare for, one can say that they surprised us. But when the season is fresh and there haven’t been that many games, you cannot prepare for a lot, and you have to make adjustments. On the other hand, we sometimes against all sorts of defenses, we suddenly got a 7-footer [Villeurbanne center Youssoupha Fall (11 points and 11 rebounds)], even more, who influences the game in a different way. And yes, that requires making adjustments and learning during the game.”

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Maccabi did make adjustments, and fought back to go on a 10-0 run at the end of the first half, and ended up heading into the locker room at halftime leading 42-41. “Like against Monaco where our four guards worked together at the end of the first half [to get Maccabi back into the game], the composition of the two big men worked very well and got us back into the game, and I continued with this in the second half,” continued Katash. “So we make adjustments – that’s the game of basketball. I want to believe that there will be games in which we will also open the game well.”

The concern, of course, is that we may be starting to see a pattern already at this early stage of the season of Maccabi starting games slowly, which of course is a bigger concern when they come up against better quality teams (as we saw last Friday night against Fenerbahçe).

TJ Parker – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


The Ugly: Lauvergne’s injury
With the scores looking ugly coming into the final quarter, and Josh Nebo (12 points and 4 rebounds) scoring 2 points on Maccabi’s first play of the period, it may have been difficult for Villeurbanne to imagine how things could get much worse. However, less than a minute into the quarter, Joffrey Lauvergne (8 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist) went down clutching his knee under his team’s basket (which incidentally resulted in a turnover and 2 points down the other end of the court to Maccabi). He needed help from his teammates to leave the court, and then went straight down to the locker room with the team’s staff, and did not return to the game.
“Don’t know yet, but I think it’s not looking good,” was all that a disappointed T.J. Parker was able to say when asked about the center’s situation in the post-game press conference.
The French media is reporting that he will undergo an MRI back in France tomorrow to determine the exact nature of the injury. While it did not look good from the stands, everyone will of course be hoping that Lauvergne has not suffered a long-term injury.

J’Covan Brown – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Up Next: Winner Cup Derby and PAO at home
Maccabi now prepares for the Winner Cup final against J’Covan Brown and Hapoel Tel Aviv in Hadera on Sunday night. Hapoel will come in confident after last night’s enormous 100-86 away win against Paris in the EuroCup, and it is sure to be an exciting first derby of the season.

Oded Katash – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


“I am aware of,” Katash said with a smile. “I know the significance of, games for titles, a game for a title which is a derby, and all the significance that goes with that. Hapoel Tel Aviv has built a good team, it’s a quality and deep team, and we will come to the game with a lot of seriousness and respect. We have 3 days, or 2 complete days, to prepare, which is a lot more than we had this week [to prepare for Villeurbanne], but we will come prepared, we will come to fight… Still, it’s the start of the season, it’s the first time that we’re meeting them, there will be a pleasant atmosphere in any event, so it will be interesting.”

Maccabi will then return to Yad Eliyahu next Thursday night, where they will host Panathinaikos. PAO currently hold a 1-2 record after a horrific 94-65 loss in Germany to Alba Berlin last night, and they will complete the round 4 games tomorrow night when they host AS Monaco.

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