Lorenzo Brown killed it in the fourth quarter to lead Maccabi Tel Aviv to a 80-72 win over Anadolu EFES as the Yellow & Blue outscored the back-to-back Euroleague champions 23-7 in the final frame to take the win. With the victory, Maccabi moves to 9-7 on the season and leapfrogs the visitors in the standings as EFES drops to 8-8 one game shy of the halfway mark of the season.
Oded Katash’s squad came out humming from the outside with points by Lorenzo Brown and Jalen Adams to snatch an early lead but Ergin Ataman’s team led by Will Clyburn and Elijah Bryant began to drive to the hoop and score easy baskets in the paint to take a 45-44 lead at halftime. Vasilije Micic and Rodrigue Beaubois made their mark in the game in the third quarter to bump the EFES lead up to 65-57, but Maccabi ratcheted up the defensive pressure while Brown took the game on his shoulders to overtake the defending two time champs to take the victory.
Brown led the way with 23 points and 7 assists, John Dibartolomeo added 12 points, Jalen Adams and Bonzie Colson each scored 11 points in the win. Clyburn paced EFES with 20 points, Beaubois chipped in with 14 points and Micic scored 13 points in the loss.
“Obviously, it’s another great W for us,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash said. “We played against a lot of quality; even when you do a good job defensively, they find a way to score. When you play against Efes, you need to choose your poison. I felt like, at the end of the third quarter, we lost some of our energy and I took the decision to go for a small lineup to bring some energy, and it worked great for us. It’s the second [straight] game that we won through defense in the fourth quarter. It was a kind of miracle that happens only here in Tel Aviv. I’m really proud of the players and happy for the W.”
“I think that, for three quarters, we played our game perfect and kept the game under control,” EFES coach Ergin Ataman began. “In the fourth quarter, when Maccabi started to play with full-court pressure with four guards, we missed everything. We made an incredible [number] of turnovers with our main players, with our main point guards. In the last quarter, it wasn’t a typical EuroLeague game, it was something different. We played like a junior team, we made junior team mistakes, and Maccabi took the rhythm with fouls and started to make difficult shots in that period. We missed everything, they made everything and they won, so congratulations. It was a very important victory for them.”
The game MVP Lorenzo Brown also looked back at the win, ”We knew they had key players. We just wanted to focus on those guys and sit down, play defense and make a couple of runs to get back into the game, and it happened. As for the runs, it’s just the game of basketball. It works out that way, but you’ve got to keep your focus and see how it plays out in the end.”
Both teams got off to a roaring start from beyond the arc as Jalen Adams, Bonzie Colson and Lorenzo Brown scored from deep for Maccabi Tel Aviv while Rodrigue Beaubois and Elijah Bryant countered for Anadolu EFES as the hosts grabbed a 14-10 lead midway through the first quarter. Brown went from downtown once again, Adams stripped Shane Larkin and went in for a dunk, Almaty M’Baye and John Dibartolomeo traded triples but Will Clyburn and Vasilije Micic each scored a bucket to stay close but the Yellow & Blue remained in front 26-19.
Josh Nebo opened the second quarter with points, but Larkin and Micic found points as did Clyburn from the inside and outside for Ergin Ataman’s squad to continue to trim the gap, 34-32 with 5:02 left in the first half. Clyburn, Micic and Bryant went right through the paint for a pair of easy layups like a hot knife through butter to take a 4-point lead, Dibartolomeo stripped Bryant to score a deuce while Brown beat the shot clock to drop the deficit down to 45-44 at halftime.
Roman Sorkin scored for Oded Katash’s squad to open the third quarter while Dibartolomeo also added points but Beaubois went from beyond the arc as Jarell Martin countered to put Maccabi back in front 53-51 midway through the period. Micic and M’Baye dialled up long distance, Adams fed Nebo for an alley-oop, Beaubois went from deep and then nailed a jumper in the paint, to stay ahead 65-57 after thirty minutes of action.
Martin went from downtown to begin the fourth quarter with a flurry while Brown chalked up a 3-point play and a dunk to get to within 67-66 with five minutes remaining in regulation time. At that point, Brown took the game on his shoulders and scored yet again, Adams put in a floater, Colson went from deep and Brown added a pair of buckets as Maccabi wrapped up the victory.