Back on Track: Maccabi defeats Anadolu EFES 94-81

Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Anadolu EFES 94-81 and moved to 13-12 in Euroleague action. Maccabi was led by Pierre Jackson’s 18 points going 5/8 from 3-point land while Michael Roll added 16 points (4/6 from 3) and 7 assists as Art Parakhouski contributed 14 points in the win. Sonny Weems who was facing his former team for the first time since being offloaded due to not taking a drug test dropped 21 points and added 6 assists as Bryant Dunston chipped in with 16 points and Toney Douglas dropped 14 points in the loss.

The Yellow & Blue took a one point lead into halftime and from there came out of the break with an 8-0 run and never looked back outscoring the host’s 51-39 over the last 20 minutes to take the win. Next week Maccabi host’s Khimki who fell to Milano today and a win will move Neven Spahija’s team into 7th place.


1) Maccabi was an offensive machine today scoring at will from beyond the arc going an impeccable 15/24 for 62.5% while adding 22 assists and 15 offensive rebounds resulting in 19 second chance points. With numbers like this it’s very hard to stop the Yellow & Blue. Michael Roll deserves plenty of accolades for his 16 points but his 7 assists were key. “We really needed that win after a couple of losses in a row. We have so much talent and when we share the ball it’s hard to stop us,” the guard said following the game.

2) DeAndre Kane handed out 6 helpers while collecting 9 points (3/4 from 3, 0/6 from 2) and pulling down 9 rebounds, 7 of which were on the offensive end. That’s quite the stat line. If Maccabi wants to solidify their playoff position, they will need every player to contribute just like Kane did against Anadolu, “We came out fighting and we knew what was at stake. We played hard and for each other.” Norris Cole may have only scored 7 points but he dished out 5 assists and collected 4 rebounds; every stat counts and that includes 22 points and 11 boards from the Alex Tyus and Art Parakhouski center duo.

3) The Yellow & Blue played confident basketball and seemed poised, cool, calm and collected throughout the 40 minutes. Coming out of halftime with an 8-0 run really gave them the boost they needed to lock up the game and there were plays that were designed to keep the ball in motion and look for the best shot possible. That was the key to free up the 3-point opportunities and pick up so many assists. Add to that a the inspired play on the offensive end and everything clicked to perfection. Coach Neven Spahija praised his team, “We played a better game, especially making 15 threes and shooting with 62%. It looks like we did to them exactly what they did to us in Tel Aviv, making crazy threes. But also, I want to congratulate my team on the effort, because lately we did not play good basketball. You know how important this win is in the battle for the playoff.” It looks like Maccabi is back on track.

Sonny Weems played his former team for the first time since being cut due to not taking a drug test last season with the Yellow & Blue and he came out with a vengeance scoring at will with 15 first half points. However, the second half was a totally different story as Maccabi held him to just 6 points over the final 20 minutes. Definitely interesting to see Sonny Weems back in the Euroleague and all in all it’s good for him to be back. Although Anadolu won’t be heading to the playoffs there is still the Turkish League and plenty more basketball to be played.

And by the way
Pierre Jackson quietly got back on track himself and scored just 18 points, nailing five 3-pointers. Maccabi will need his scoring and leadership down the stretch.

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