Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated ALBA Berlin 102-81 to get back onto the winning track and move their record to a game over .500 at 6-5 in Euroleague play. Head Coach Oded Katash’s squad grabbed a 29-14 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back as they will now ready for another double week which will include road games at Villeurbanne and Bologna.
Everything went the yellow-and-blue’s way shooting 15/25 (60%) from deep, dishing out 27 assists and hitting 17/19 free throws to go along with a dozen steals in a game that saw Maccabi play without an ill Josh Nebo and John Dibartolomeo who was out with a groin injury.
Bonzie Colson had the hot hand early for Maccabi Tel Aviv to grab a 12-7 lead midway through the first quarter, Johannes Thiemann tried to keep ALBA Berlin close but Tamir Blatt form deep along with a trio of triples from Rafi Menco gave the hosts a 29-14 lead after ten minutes of play.
James Webb, Blatt and Lorenzo Brown kept scoring in bunches as did Bonzie Colson to go up 43-27 with 5:42 left in the second quarter, Gabrielle Procida hit a trio of 3-pointers, but Baldwin started to hit his free throws, chucked up a triple as the shot clock expired and dunked to send the yellow-and-blue into halftime with a 58-42 advantage.
Baldwin started the third quarter just as he finished the last with more points while, Colson and Jasiel Rivero scored as well to quickly bump Maccabi’s lead up to over 20 points, Procida responded for the visitors but Webb from deep along with a pair of deuces kept the lead at 81-66 after thirty minutes of action.
Menco and Baldwin continued to find the bottom of the basket to begin the fourth quarter, 17-year old Omer Mayer went from beyond the arc as well while Sorkin scored as well to wrap up the easy win.
Baldwin led the way with 18 points, Colson added 17 points while Rafi Menco chipped in with 13 points and Webb scored 12 points in the win. Gabrielle Procida paced ALBA with 22 points in the loss.
“Very good win for us,” Katash began. “We needed it and it was a really high tempo game. Offensively we shared the ball right, got good looks and scored the basketball. We had two runs and we were focussed defensively, made stops and got some easy baskets. I will take this with two hands after a tough week.”
“We need to recover and also play better,” ALBA coach Israel Gonzalez explained. “We didn’t play good defense and offense. We are going through a tough moment and we have to be together this is the only way.”
Wade Baldwin also reflected on the contest, “This was a game we had to bounce back we had a very embarrassing loss to Real Madrid and we got back to playing our way and had a little bit fun as the circumstances we are playing in are tough. We miss our fans and we try to bring that energy as we want to continue the season as strong as we can.”
“ALBA Berlin is one of those teams that are always in the game, they play high paced a lot of possessions so it’s very important to stay focussed for 40 minutes of play. We are trying to build and we are trying to get better despite the circumstances that we are dealing with.”