Maccabi succumbs to Kazan 85-74 as Brown, Canaan and Hezonja star as Euroleague losing streak at four games

Dec 10, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to UNICS Kazan 85-74 as Lorenzo Brown and Mario Hezonja played superb basketball to help the visitors take the final frame 22-8 to send the Yellow & Blue to their fourth Euroleague loss in a row. Maccabi was able to get John Brown and Hezonja into foul trouble early but Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team couldn’t capitalize with two of Velimir Perasovic’s players on the bench and went into halftime all tied up at 43-43.

Scottie Wilbekin and Jalen Reynolds helped Maccabi take a 3-point lead into the fourth quarter but Lorenzo Brown and Mario Hezonja scored at will while Isaiah Canaan also contributed on both ends of the floor to stymie the Yellow & Blue as Kazan took the hard earned victory.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Scottie Wilbekin led Maccabi with 18 points, Jalen Reynolds and James Nunnally each scored 12 points while Ante Zizic chipped in with 11 points in the loss. Lorenzo Brown scored 26 points for Kazan while Isaiah Canaan added 18 points and Mario Hezonja scored 14 points in the win.

Ioannis Sfairopoulos – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


“Obviously, it is a bad result for us,” Ioannis Sfairopoulos said after the defeat. “We wanted to fight hard and win this game. I think that in the first period, we wanted to play better defense. They scored 26 points. That wasn’t our goal.”

“We collapsed in the last period. We scored only 8 points on our side. On the other side, they scored a lot on the open court and in fastbreaks, and they got a small lead, 4-5 points, 3-4 minutes before the end. Then we missed some layups, some baskets that we should score, to stay in the game and fight for the win until the end. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and we lost the game.”

Velimir Perasovic – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Winning coach Velimir Perasovic some about the game from his point of view, “First of all, winning in Tel Aviv is always difficult because playing here is not easy. We had big problems all game long, especially in the first half, with fouls. Our important players had to stay a lot of time on the bench but the guys did a good job and we stayed in the game until they could play in the second half. So I am very happy because, I repeat, it is very difficult to win here.”

Scottie Wilbekin and Mario Hezonja – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Kazan got off to a hot start as Mario Hezonja wasted no time to drill a 3-pointer while Jarrell Brantley added points as well and John Brown hit a pair of shots to give the visitors a quick 9-2 lead to begin the first quarter. Keenan Evans went from deep, Lorenzo Brown matched him at the other end, Scottie Wilbekin scored a pair from the outside and then fed Ante Zizic for a dunk as Jalen Reynolds scored for the Yellow & Blue as well, but OJ Mayo scored a 3-pointer at the end of the period as Kazan snatched a 26-24 lead after ten minutes of play.

Isaiah Canaan and OJ Mayo – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Isaiah Canaan scored for Velimir Perasovic’s squad, Reynolds went from the midrange, Toney Jekiri dunked but John Dibartolomeo scored from downtown off a Reynolds screen to put Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s team in front 33-32 with just under 7 minutes left in the second quarter. Jekiri scored in the paint, Wilbekin scored from beyond the arc, Zizic added points inside but Canaan went from deep as the first half ended all knotted up at 43-43.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Zizic powered inside for Maccabi’s first points of the third quarter, James Nunnally put in a floater, but Lorenzo Brown put in a pair of quick buckets and Mayo added a corner 3-ball to take the lead 50-47 midway through the frame. Wilbekin went from downtown, Brown scored yet again, Dibartolomeo dialed up long distance as did Canaan while Reynolds slammed home a Caloiaro pass to give the hosts a slight 66-3 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Lorenzo Brown and Hezonja with a step back long distance triple helped Kazan quickly snatch the lead 70-66 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter forcing Sfairopoulos to call a timeout. Hezonja put down a terrific alleyoop, Zizic scored in the paint, Nunnally drilled a line drive 3-pointer but Hezonja went on an open court break for a mega slam and Brown yet again scored in the paint to give Kazan a 80-72 advantage with 3:38 left in regulation time. With Maccabi up against the wall, Wilbekin, Williams and Dibartolomeo shot blanks as the game wound down as Kazan took the 11-point victory.

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