Looking up, moving up: Maccabi Tel Aviv downs Partizan Belgrade to begin double week on right foot

Jan 11, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv led wire-to-wire to take a convincing 90-81 win over Partizan Belgrade as Bonzie Colson and Lorenzo Brown proved to be unstoppable at Yad Eliyahu. For yellow-and-blue coach Oded Katash this was the first win over his own former bench boss from his playing days, the legendary Zeljko Obradovic after falling to his team earlier in the season in Serbia.

The hosts raced out to a 12-0 lead in shock and awe fashion as Colson, Brown and Josh Nebo were able to score at will to get the proceedings underway but Kevin Punter and Zach LeDay started chipping away at the advantage and closed the gap to 46-39 by halftime. Jarell Martin got busy in the third quarter as Dante Exum tried to keep the Serbian squad close but Maccabi bumped the lead up going into the final frame, however, Brown made big plays down the stretch while the defense held Partizan at bay to take the 9-point win.

Oded Katash – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“I think we played the right way,” Katash said following the game. “We stuck to the game plan and had a great effort. We started the game really well. We tried to bother them and to slow them down, because they execute really well. I love the way we played. Even though we missed some shots, it wasn’t our best day but we found the way to get the W and I am proud of the guys. It is always sweet to win a EuroLeague game but it is a big honor to play against Zeljko Obradovic.”

Zeljko Obradovic – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“Maccabi started the game very aggressive which we expected and we started very bad,” Coach Obradovic explained. “I’m not really happy with our offense and we can’t win when we have an assist to turnover ratio as what we had, we can’t win with that. We couldn’t defend Maccabi running and in transition.”

Bonzie Colson – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

The game MVP Bonzie Colson also looked back at the contest, “Just playing with confidence. My players gave me a lot of confidence as well, just getting what the defense gave me, taking my shots, driving and just trying to be active. I did that but we have to move on. We have a big one on Friday. I feed off their energy, we have the best fans in the EuroLeague and it is great to have them behind us every home game. We just have to keep it up.”

Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Brown led the way with 21 points, Colson added 19 points, Martin scored 13 points and Nebo checked in with 10 points in the win. Punter paced Partizan with 22 points, Exum chipped in with 17 points and LeDay scored 15 points in the defeat.

Maccabi Tel Aviv – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

With the victory, Maccabi is now 10-8 and moved up in the standings into 8th place and a playoff position as the yellow-and-blue will look to continue their winning ways as they face 6-12 Panathinaikos on Friday night in Athens. Despite the Greeks rough season thus far, Katash is well aware as to how dangerous his former team as both a player and a coach are at home, “Their results haven’t been great recently but it’s not easy to play at the OAKA Arena and we don’t have a lot of time to prepare. In the Euroelague there are always different game plans and we have to look at the personnel and what each player can do. There’s not a lot of time and it won’t be easy. We need everyone to be ready but I believe that we have enough experience as we get ready for this important game.”

Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Bonzie Colson and Lorenzo Brown each hit floaters in the lane for Maccabi Tel Aviv to get the game underway while Josh Nebo out down a pair of dunks and Wade Baldwin also scored to give the hosts a quick 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Colson went from the inside and then drilled home two from the corner, Jarell Martin cleaned up a Lorenzo Brown miss and then hit a jumper to give the yellow-and-blue a 24-13 lead after ten minutes of play.

Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Jalen Adams found his first points of the game to open the second quarter for Oded Katash’s team, Kevin Punter and Zach LeDay scored as well for Partizan Belgrade, Brown answered with a reverse layup and Nebo added a 3-point play but Punter and Uros Trifunovic nailed 3-pointers to cut the lead to 35-27 with 5:38 left in the first half. Colson scored inside, Punter responded from the outside, Jake Cohen put in a deuce as did LeDay and Mathias Lessort at the other end for Zeljko Obradovic’s squad but Maccabi stayed in front 46-39 at halftime.

Jake Cohen and Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Aleksa Avramovic began the third quarter from deep, Brown and Cohen answered right back, Martin then put in a 3-point play and a 3-pointer to bump the Yellow & Blue lead back up to 56-46 midway through the period. Colon finished off a fast break, Baldwin put in a layup, Dante Exum put home a 3-pointer but Brown scored at the buzzer to give Maccabi a 64-53 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Avramovic got busy to start off the fourth quarter, Jalen Adams polished off a team passing okay with a corner 3-ball, Punter went from downtown, Sorkin started scoring inside but Ioannis Papapetrou and Avramovic scored again to cut the gap to 73-67 with 6:15 remaining in regulation time. Brown immediately scored out of the timeout, Nebo dunked, Brown went from deep, Punter responded, Martin dialled up long distance as did Punter but John Dibartolomeo drained a triple as well to finish off the victory.

Jarell Martin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

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