Can Maccabi Tel Aviv get back onto the winning track against Monaco with Jalen Adams in tow?

Oct 18, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

After a disappointing 86-71 loss against Fenerbahçe on Friday night, Maccabi Tel Aviv returns to Yad Eliyahu tonight (Tuesday) for its Euroleague round 3 clash against AS Monaco. The visitors come into the game on the back of a 95-92 overtime win against reigning champions Anadolu Efes on Thursday night, followed by a 95-91 away win in the local French league on Sunday against Paris.

One of Monaco’s most dangerous players is reigning Euroleague MVP runner-up, Mike James, who is coming into the game after leading the scoring for his team in the opening two rounds of the Euroleague campaign (26 points in the 83-66 round one win against Virtus Bologna and 19 points against Efes). However, Maccabi coach Oded Katash is under no illusions about how dangerous Monaco’s whole team, and the challenge that Maccabi faces, “Especially after the game against Fenerbahçe, we face another good team with a quality squad. It will be a tough fight. Monaco was also good last year, and strengthened in the areas that it lacked, both defensively and by adding another creative guard. With the crowd and atmosphere, the players will feel it and we need 40 good minutes. This is a team that likes to run, everyone knows Mike James, but it’s not only him.

Oded Katash – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Katash will be hoping for a more consistent performance over the whole four quarters tonight, which his team has yet to show in its previous outings this season – especially on the defensive front. “There are things that we need to complete in our defensive coordination, and this will take time. Maybe individually, a player has his defensive orientation, but on a team level, there is a lack of concentration and a lack of effort. On the court we need to give 100% aggressiveness and effort. Fenerbahçe was much more aggressive than we were, and this is something that we need to change right now.”

Center Josh Nebo, who showed good signs on Thursday night despite the loss, with 12 points (6/8 from the field) and 9 rebounds in just under 22 minutes, spoke with the media yesterday about the importance of the game, “Coming off of a loss, we want to be able to bounce back and win – especially playing at home, it’s important to win every home game.”

Josh Nebo – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

One player Nebo will need to worry about is Monaco big man John Brown – while his numbers on the stat sheet may not be impressive (6 points and 6 rebounds in round 1 against Virtus Bologna and 4 points against Efes in round 2), is one of the best defenders in Europe, and he will be important for his team if they are to win in Tel Aviv. “I think with John Brown, he has very good hands defensively, good instincts on defense,” said Nebo. “So I think we just have to be strong with the ball, and we have to be aware of when he’s around and just kind of know where he is, and be strong with the ball.”

Maccabi of course will be bolstered by the signing of Jalen Adams, whose signing over the weekend is will fill in the gap left by Darrun Hilliard in the guard rotation. Maccabi announced yesterday that Hilliard has partial tear to his MCL, and is expected to miss 3-5 weeks. However, Katash warned not to expect too much from Adams in his first Euroleague outing, “Objectively, he can’t be in the the bets game shape. But this is something that we’re monitoring. In the meantime, he’s jetlagged, he trained around 10 minutes, he is trying to learn the things. We need to feel out, at the end of the day, how ready he is and how much he is able to contribute, because we may need some minutes from him.”

Jalen Adams – Design: Yehuda Halickman

Maccabi may also have some inadvertent help from flight delays – as Tweeted by Efrat Amoraban from Ynet and Yediot Ahronot this morning, Monaco only landed in Tel Aviv at 3am this morning due to an aircraft malfunction. This will be to the benefit of Maccabi, and together with the lift that the home crowd will give, Katash and his team will be hoping that they can begin this double-week with a big W.

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