Israel came from behind to stop Holland 74-67 as Deni Avdija and Yam Madar teamed up to close out the game late in the 4th quarter to move their Eurobasket record to 2-0. After the blue-and-white’s dramatic overtime victory over Finland 89-87 on Friday, the Netherlands gave Guy Goodes’s squad everything they could handle and then some as Maurizio Buscaglia’s team controlled the game from the get go.
However, stellar play by Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija and clutch shooting by Partizan Belgrade and Boston Celtics draft stash Yam Madar with a long distance 3-pointer as time wound down helped Israel to the win.
Next up for Israel is an early Monday afternoon date with Poland where a victory will secure their place in the knockout round of 16 which is being held in Berlin Germany. Following the Poland game, the blue-and-white will tip-off against Serbia on Tuesday evening and close out the group stage in Prague against the host nation Czech Republic.
“The first half we didn’t play aggressive defense and allowed Holland who drives and shoots from inside to do just that,” Goodes said. “The second half was a totally different game as we scored a lot and played defense. It wasn’t an easy game to come into after the win over Finland but these tournament games have a life of their own and we now have two wins.”
“We struggled a little bit against zone and matchup zone,” Buscaglia remarked. “I’m sorry, I have to help my guys better. It’s my fault, because the guys put the energy and effort on the floor, it’s my job to try and give them better help. It’s one tough loss, the first to fault is me.”
Holland came out strong after falling to Serbia in their opening game with solid play from Mohamed Kherrazi and captain Worthy De Jong while Israel countered with points from Deni Avdija and point guard Tamir Blatt, but it was the Dutch who grabbed a 40-32 lead at halftime. However, Israel chipped away at the lead with inside points from Roman Sorkin as well as Avdija shaved the Holland lead down to 51-50 with ten minutes to go.
Buscaglia’s side kept pressuring Israel with 3-pointers by Yannick Franke and De Jong to stay in front, but big buckets by Avdija and Madar including a very deep downtown triple by the latter gave Israel the lead for good as they wrapped up the win.
Avdija was the game’s high scorer with 21 points, Madar finished with 14 points while Roman Sorkin checked in with 10 points in the win. De Jong paced Holland with 12 points, Charlie Kloof added 11 points and Mohamed Kherrazi chipped in with 10 points in the defeat.
“We didn’t come with the right energy and the mindset,” Blatt said. “But I’m happy that we showed character and stuck together. We pulled out a win, which is important for us. We now have a day to recover and move on from there.”
Deni Avdija opened the game up with a corner 3-ball while Tamir Blatt added one from dead center for Israel as well but Keye Van Der Vuurst De Vries went from deep and Charon Kloof scored. 3-point play to put Holland up 10-8 midway through the first quarter. Blatt dialled up long distance, Roeland Schaftenaar and Leon Williams answered for the Netherlands but Yam Madar drilled a triple to knot the score up at 18-18 after ten minutes of play.
Jake Cohen and Nimrod Levi scored for Guy Goodes’s squad to begin the second period, Yannick Franke came back with a 3-pointer, Mohamed Kherrazi and Worthy De Jong responded with a pair of buckets, Tomer Ginat nailed a turnaround hoop shot but Shane Hammink hit a wide open triple to give Holland a 31-24 lead with just over five minutes left in the first half.
Guy Pnini went from downtown, Kherrazi found points inside, Blatt scored a floater to the right of the hoop, but Kloof drilled home a corner 3-pointer, Jito Kok scored inside but Avdija scored a long range turnaround at the halftime buzzer to cut the Dutch lead to 40-32.
Kherrazi scored inside at the end of the shot clock to begin the third quarter, Roman Sorkin found points in the paint, De Vries scored a layup, Gal Mekel hit a corner 3-pointer off a nice team passing play but Kloof scored a triple of his own to keep Holland in front 47-39 midway through the frame. Avdija hit a floater in the lane, Kloof responded, Mekel fed Sorkin for an alley-oop, Madar went from downtown and Avdija scored his free throws to cut the gap down to 51-50 for Holland after thirty minutes.
Madar opened the final frame with a triple, Franke came back with one of his own at the other end, Sorkin out down the hammer and Franke hit another from deep, Madar scored a layup off the transition as Israel squared the game up at 59-59 with 5:15 left in regulation time. Hammink put in a runner, Mekel scored a baseline jumper, Avdija dropped a 3-point play and then nailed a triple while Madar hit one from way downtown for the dagger in the heart of Holland to give Israel a 70-64 lead with 1:20 to go as Mekel hit a quartet of free throws to wrap up the comeback win.