Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Khimki Moscow 89-87 in overtime to get back onto the winning track in Euroleague action after three straight losses. The Yellow & Blue moved their record to 2-3 on the season as Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad came back late in regulation to tie up the ball game on Tyler Dorsey’s eighth 3-pointer of the contest and sending it to an extra session. Elijah Bryant nailed a pair of triples to put Maccabi in front for good in overtime to take the hard fought win back to Israel.
Tyler Dorsey starred with 26 points, Ante Zizic scored 16 points, Angelo Caloiaro recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Scottie Wilbekin scored 12 points, added 6 assists and chipped in with 4 steals in the victory. Alexey Shved led all scorers with 32 points and 11 assists, Greg Monroe scored 15 points while Devin Booker added 14 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
1) Welcome to the 20/21 Euroleague season Tyler Dorsey! After four ho-hum performances by the Oregon product, Dorsey just went off in a big, big way to the tune of 26 points and 8 triples setting Maccabi Tel Aviv Euroleague record. It’s as if he was waiting for the right time to re-enact his Israeli league playoff performance against Hapoel Tel Aviv in the decisive game three of the quarterfinals where he had the hot hand and led the Yellow & Blue to victory. Maccabi needed this win badly and they got it thanks to Dorsey. But who was the person that knew really knew Dorsey was going to break out and get it going just in time? Well, it was the person who probably knows him best, his father Jerrid. Take a look at what he wrote to me on Twitter after last game.
Don't Worry Sports Rabbi, Tyler Dorsey will get it going for the next stretch of games. Though I would say if the ball moves faster and moves from side to side that will make a difference.
— Jerrid Dorsey (@bballbreeder) October 19, 2020
And yes, the ball did move better and faster giving Dorsey the chance to really knock down his shots while moving and grooving in they parquet. “I caught a hot hand, and my teammates found me in good spots,” the guard said. “We need to stay confident as a group and continue to grow. It’s a long season, it’s still early, and there will be a lot of ups and downs, but we showed fight tonight, and we need to continue with that.”
2) Maccabi really needed this win and I mean REALLY needed this win. There was no way they wanted to be put in a situation that they were going to be 1-4 with 4 straight losses and the snowball just heading downhill faster and faster. The Yellow & Blue began the game as if they were still in mid-flight letting the hosts take a 12-2 lead off the bat and were in the hole for most of the contest. With just two minutes to go Shved drilled home a 3-pointer to give Khimki a 78-73 lead and what looked to be the win. Angelo Caloiaro answered with a triple of his own but with 1:23 Shved did what he does best once again, drain another shot from long distance, 81-76 and the win seemingly in hand. But Scottie Wilbekin went for a bucket, Othello Hunter came out of absolutely nowheres to block Jonas Jerebko who was about to out down the hammer and Dorsey faked out Devin Booker to hit the tying shot. Shved did have a chance to win it on a last second heave but the ball went off the iron as the game headed into overtime.
Even in OT, Bryant’s back to back triples were almost nullified by Jordan Mickey’s 3-point attempt and Maccabi escaped Moscow with the win. And like I said, one they needed desperately. Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos was relieved to take the W, “It was a very good game to watch, an open game until the final seconds as each team could have come up with the victory. Both teams fought hard for the win, it was very important how we showed our character tonight. It’s not easy to have the confidence and the fighting spirit to win the game after losing three straight games at the last minute. Our players deserve a big congratulations, and this is what I told them in the locker room.” Tyler Dorsey echoed his bench bosses thoughts, “We needed this win bad. In the last couple of games, we lost at the end, and we finally closed one out tonight.” Finally Angelo Caloiaro gave his two cents on the win, “Tyler hit a huge shot, Elijah added two big threes, and we got stops when we needed them. It was a great team effort. We lost three of them like that, coming down to the last seconds, and we didn’t let that affect us tonight. We knew we were due for a win in a close game, and we went and got it.”
3) Alexey Shved is poetry in motion. The All-Star is just simply put a star and one the players you’d buy a ticket to see play. You never know what he’s going to do with the ball at any moment in time and he proved that once again with 32 points, 6 treys and 11 assists, some of which were right out of a movie. Add to the fact that Shved who was coming off injury played 44:02 of the 45 minutes is just incredible, he is truly a specimen of the game. Shved almost singlehandedly won the game for Khimki but in order for them to win he can’t be about a one man show and he proved that he wasn’t despite the loss. He played as much as a team game that he could just as Jonas Jerebko told me when I spoke to him last week, “He’s the best player in the Euroleague when he plays right.” Coach Sfairopoulos knew that closing down Shved in money time was going to be the difference maker, “Throughout the game, Shved created many problems, but we played good defense on him in overtime, which was the key to winning this game.”
Maccabi needed to fight to the end to record the win and that’s what they did. The biggest battler of them all on so many nights is Angelo Caloiaro. How many times have we seen the University San Francisco man show up time and time again as he put up a double-double. And to think that Maccabi was shopping him around last season like there was no tomorrow. Not only did he out up the stats he hit his shots when it counted most, just like Elijah Bryant another unsung Yellow & Blue hero. “We just kept fighting,” Caloiaro said. “We got down a little bit at the end, but we hit some big shots.” The theme of fighting all the way to the end was also what Bryant brought up right off the bat, “We played a good game and we fought to the end and that’s what coach has been talking about. We showed that and our fighting spirit like we do at Maccabi and it was a great team win. Celebrate tonight and then get back to work.” Yep it’s back to work as Hapoel Haifa in WINNER Cup action awaits on Monday night while Fenerbahce visits Yad Eliyahu on Thursday.