Maccabi Tel Aviv put the smackdown on the defending champions plain and simple as the Yellow & Blue absolutely routed Hapoel Holon to 98-78 in a game that the purples never seemed to be in.
Guy Goodes squad were humiliated and disassembled by Oded Katash’s crew in what was a one sided old fashioned whipping. Sure Holon pulled to within single digits at times but they never really threatened Maccabi.
In fact, Katash never played Lorenzo Brown and Wade Baldwin together over the course of the 40 minutes as they were paired up with Iftach Ziv and John Dibartolomeo as Maccabi was able to split their minutes up across 11 of the 12 players who were dressed for the contest.
“Players that needed rest were Wade, Lorenzo and Alex (Poythress) but I felt that if I would rest one of the guards the other would play more so I registered them both and kept their minutes down below 18 a piece. I’m happy that other players had a chance to play as well.”
As for the game itself, Katash didn’t view the win as one that was easy and that Holon kept battling to try and stay in the clash, “I felt that they kept coming back and we had to control their play. They are a dangerous team and maybe they are a bit short with their roster but they are very good.”
Erick Green who starred in Holon’s Basketball Champions League win last week over Galatasaray was straight, honest and to the point as to how he viewed the matchup, “They toyed with us and they were laughing. They are a great second half team and we will learn from this and get back to work.”
“It was just us,” Green continued. “They are strong, they got bigs, we didn’t execute, we didn’t listen to coach on defense and we weren’t physical. At the end of the day they wanted it more. We will get back to work tomorrow and we want to make sure this won’t happen to us again.”
Goodes was obviously not a happy camper following the game and when he looked at the stat sheet his ire rose even more especially when he saw that Shawn Dawson and Frederic Bourdillon combined for 0 points, 0 rebounds and 3 assists in 32 minutes of time on the court.
Last game in the BCL, Dawson was dressed and didn’t play, so this game did him no favors of getting into the coach’s good graces, “From our side as a club, we are doing everything that we can integrate these players into the team but not at the risk of games. This isn’t a country club that everyone will be happy. I told the players and not just Shawn that whoever will defend will play more than another player. It begins here on defense and aggressiveness. You can lose, but there is also a way to do so. Whoever is not keeping up with the pace will not be here.”
It’s true that Goodes and Holon need at least another Israeli player but there has been no talk whatsoever of anyone about to join the team. One player that looks to be sticking around beyond his 3-month short term contract will be Green after a glum looking Goodes gave an update on guard CJ Harris’s injury status, “It will take Harris a number of more months and it won’t be in 2022.”
While Goodes certainly would like to have a number of more players on his roster especially when it comes to Israelis, Maccabi Tel Aviv doesn’t have that issue at all. On the contrary they have too many quality Israelis who aren’t getting enough minutes as Katash has to juggle his lineup in order to get some of his charges playing time.
One of those players is point guard Iftach Ziv who has rarely dressed for the Euroleague games but played solidly in 20 minutes against Holon scoring 3 points and dishing out 8 assists.
Katash explained that despite Ziv’s lack of playing time he has the utmost respect for the guard, “Even if I don’t play some of the players I believe in them and I want to give them confidence when they do play. I am not guaranteeing anything and they don’t have to prove themselves, they are all good players. I don’t judge them by their points and percentages in practice.”
Another player who has not seen much parquet this year is big man Jake Cohen who chimed in on the issue, “For guys like me and anyone else that isn’t playing that much, the reason they are at Maccabi is that they are professional and want to improve everyday. He’s (Iftach) a great pro and great teammate. I’ve been in that position for better and worse and I talk to those guys about it.”
On the topic of issues, one that is near and dear to Jake Cohen’s heart is the “Movember” which raises awareness about men’s health issues. Cohen will once again grow a mustache as is customary for the month of November and raise money as well, “Last year we raised $2,500 last year and the motivation this year is my uncle who had a mustache his whole life and died this past February. This will be a big month for me and I’m looking to get a lot of support along the way.”