Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Red Star 76-64 in Belgrade as the Yellow & Blue had trouble handling the Serbian squad over the decisive second half to take the win. Jordan Loyd starred for the hosts while Ognen Dobric, Landry Nnoko and Dejan Davidovac all scored important points while dominating the boards 48-26 as they notched the victory. With the loss, Maccabi’s record drops to 13-18 with there games remaining in the Euroleague season as they welcome ASVEL on Sunday and Khimki on Tuesday with a road game at Zenit to end the campaign next Friday.
Loyd led the way with 21 points, Dobric scored 13 points, Davidovac added 11 points and Nnooko scored 10 points in the win. Dorsey was Maccabi’s high scorer with 14 points, Elijah Bryant added 12 points and Ante Zizic notched 10 points in the loss.
John Dibartolomeo, Scottie Wilbekin and Dragan Bender all went from downtown while Langston Hall, Ognjen Dobric and Marko Simonovic matched the Maccabi Tel Aviv marksmen at the other end but points Elijah Bryant gave the visitors a 21-15 lead after ten minutes. Jordan Loyd began scoring for Red Star in the second quarter as did Landry Nnoko and Aleksa Uskokovic while Elijah Bryant and Ante Zizic countered for Maccabi but the hosts pulled to within 1-point, 34-33 at halftime.
Red Star opened up the third quarter with points from Nnoko to go on a 10-0 run as Dejan Davidovac scored points a plenty to help Dejan Radinjic’s team to take a 53-45 lead after thirty minutes. Loyd, Davidovac, Nnoko and Dobric continued to score for Red Star while Tyler Dorsey countered for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad but it wasn’t enough as the home team took the 76-64 win.
Maccabi looked good out of the gate but as the game continued on, a first quarter lead turned into an early second half deficit as the Yellow & Blue never looked to be back in the game. Red Star pushed, shoved and banged away at Maccabi as they shooters hit their shots, Jordan Loyd penetrated and the bigs did as they pleased inside against Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team to take the win. It looked as if Maccabi didn’t really want to get to physical and mess it up with the Serbians and when the TV cameras panned the bench it looked like the players had little interest in being in Belgrade. Elijah Bryant looks back at the game, “We came out flat tonight, couldn’t find the energy to make runs and fast break points, and it hurt us. They hit us in the mouth in the second quarter and we never responded after that. Credit to them. We continue.” Sfairopoulos also reflected on his squad’s performance, “It was obvious as long as we had power we were in the game, the first half except the last 4-5 minutes we moved the ball and played good defense. We started the game really well and concentrated but as long as we continued to play the game with the great physicality that they had we didn’t have the power and this is because we spent so much energy in the overtime in the previous game and our tank was empty.”
WHERE’S THE YOUTH?
If Maccabi had spent so much energy in the last game and the tank was empty then why not play some of the guys who didn’t have so much mileage on their bodies. TJ Cline and Sandy Cohen both ended the game with DNPs, while Dori Sahar, Eidan Alber and Yonatan Atias weren’t even in the squad. Why not play the young players to give them solid experience and give Cline a real chance to play serious minutes to see how he can play in the Euroleague. Sfairopoulos answered one of my questions about the young players a few weeks ago saying that he plays the players who will hep team win, well then you can’t have it both ways that you are playing guys who are tired and then say they had no power when you had five fresh bodies ready to go. What happened to the youth movement that was preached months and months ago? As Tyler Dorsey said after the game, “We couldn’t find our rhythm on offense tonight. We were up by 11, but we let them back in the game, and then they hit shots and kept pressing. They dominated the boards and deserved the win.” If that as the case wouldn’t players who hadn’t been exhausted after the Barcelona victory be a better option? And didn’t Red Star also just have game tow night ago against Milano? Weren’t they tired as well?
Dejan Radionjic was one happy camper after the game as he saw his guys fight and battle all the way until the end, apparently not having any after effects from Tuesday’s brutal loss to Milano. Red Star are not the most talented team but they came in focussed with one mission in mind; win the game and play solid basketball. And that is what they did. “Obviously we had to respond from the last game,” explained Landry Nnoko. “It’s been a tough road for all of us, we had to come out and show we could play and end up on a good note. It just shows: it goes back to us, our focus, locking in and making sure we bring our energy every time to compete at a high level.” Coach Radonjic also reflected on the win, “This was a good game and it was important to see how we would react after the game against Armani. We were more focussed and I am very satisfied. We played the entire 40 minutes and it was nice to celebrate here.”
The big winner on the night was Jordan Loyd. If the guard was auditioning for Maccabi Tel Aviv his 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists definitely did the trick for the Yellow & Blue brass which also included Chairman Shimon Mizrachi who made the trip to Belgrade. It’s clear that Loyd can handle the bright lights and will thrive at Yad Eliyahu. One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out, it’s clear as day. Loyd chewed Maccabi up and did as he pleased. While it’s true he went 1/7 from downtown, and committed 6 turnovers, he did shoot 4/6 from two and went 10/11 from the charity stripe. Maccabi knows what they will be getting, an NBA Champion who played alongside the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol to name a few, plus he has a couple of Euroleague seasons under his belt and one year at Hapoel Eilat so he’s already very familiar with the Israeli league. What can go wrong? ”Obviously it’s a tough season, but we wanted to try to end on a good note for all the people at home watching, all the fans through the good and bad times, so I’m glad we could end up on a good note at home. [Message for the fans] Just thank you. It’s been a tough year, but they’ve stuck with us, they’ve showed love from day one. We still have work to do, one more EuroLeague game and the ABA League, so we’re excited.” Wouldn’t Maccabi want a guy on their team with this type of class?
FOR THE ROAD
Tyrese Rice Speaks
Look like Maccabi need to bring the OGs back.
— Rese (@ReseRice4) April 1, 2021