Baldwin’s back as Sorkin, Colson & Brown lead Maccabi to crucial game one win

May 31, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

At times in game one, Maccabi Tel Aviv looked like they were back to normal with both Lorenzo Brown and Wade Baldwin in the backcourt while Bonzie Colson and Roman Sorkin were causing all kinds of problems for Hapoel Holon. At other points, it was as if the yellow-and-blue were at the mercy of Joe Ragland who was a one-man gang for Guy Goodes’s team.

However, one thing that was clear is that Oded Katash’s squad was the better team in the 90-76 win and it’s going to be a tough and tall order for Holon to even up the series even at home on Friday afternoon and send the semifinals tilt back to Yad Eliyahu for a decisive third game next Sunday.

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Maccabi had plenty to be happy about though which included seeing Roman Sorkin playing some of his best basketball, Lorenzo Brown being able to score not only key baskets but also notch double digits in assists and watching Bonzie Colson play a big part while earning the MVP award in the win. But perhaps most importantly it was the return of Wade Baldwin which was above all as the guard did what he usually does, dominate and score 20 points to lead his team to the victory.

“It’s clear Wade ended the second half of the Euroleague season as one of the best guards in the continent,” Katash said about Baldwin’s comeback performance. “Everyone can see what he brings to the table. He can bring a tremendous amount and is so important on both sides of the floor. He is a leader with a lot of emotions and intensity which we are happy about and what we need as a club.”

Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Maccabi really missed having Baldiwn with them in the 3-game sweep of Hapoel Beer Sheva and it was crystal clear had the guard been available the yellow-and-blue would have played a much better brand of basketball that would not have allowed the team to just get by in the series with the southern reds. The offense was off and the defense was as well, but with Baldwin back in the saddle as the Israeli league comes to a conclusion Maccabi looked just that much more fluid and a lot better.

Colson, who played an important role throughout the game with points and rebounds with a double-double performance spoke about he along with the team wanted to get back into the rhythm that they had been in prior to the Beer Sheva series.

Bonzie Colson – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“I wanted to come in and bring energy and that is what I try to do every game. I felt that over the past few games some of that energy wasn’t there and I wanted to get back to myself and play well on both sides of the court. We all tried to be more active, better on defense and this was a good win for our momentum, but we still have plenty to work on.”

Sorkin was also a key factor in the win as he entered the game at times that Maccabi was struggling a bit and the big man was able to win his matchups over Marvin Jones and Hayden Dalton to score crucial baskets in order for his team to pick up the win.

Oded Katash – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

This was something that Katash also spoke about as he gave his center one of the biggest compliments, “What we have found out is that Roman is very good at basketball and can be even better. We have enjoyed his play all season long.”

Over on the purple side of the court, Guy Goodes saw his team lose the battle of the boards 42-35 as well as in the assist column 21-10 as Maccabi really dominated those two areas. Joe Ragland may have had 28 points but he was only able to dish out 6 assists while he grabbed 9 rebounds but the only other player in double figures was Chris Johnson with 12 points. With those numbers, Holon is going to have a very tough time winning a game no matter where it takes place, at home or on the road.

Joe Ragland – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“Joe wants to play the entire game and it’s not easy but we have a few days to rest now,” Goodes said. But let’s be clear, one player won’t be able to beat Maccabi and it’s just not enough to win.”

Katash also spoke about having to contend with Ragland, “With Joe you have to pick your poison. We were ready to pay the price in certain areas and he is a very smart player and is in good shape. After not playing him well in the first quarter we started to do what we could to stop his game.”

Ragland and Co. will need to play their “A” game on Friday afternoon if they want to send the series back to Tel Aviv and they are well aware of that but also is Maccabi and Sorkin who will be looking to close out the series and punch their ticket to the finals slated to begin next week.

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“Holon is a tough arena and there is a lot of noise, it’s just a really hard place to play. Our fans travel all over the country supporting us from the Galil to Eilat which really helps us. Holon is a very difficult court to play on but at the end of the day it’s just basketball. It’s not easy to play on the road and we will try to neutralize the things around us and focus on our game plan, our flow of play and defense as we try to bring back the win.”

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!