The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: From the charity stripe to technical fouls – Maccabi downs Panathinaikos

Oct 27, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

For the first time this season Maccabi Tel Aviv won all four quarters, beating Panathinaikos 85-74 on Thursday to stay perfect at home, and to finish the first month of the Euroleague season with a 4-1 record. Here are a few of my reflections from the round 5 clash.

Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

The Good: Pre-game and the first quarter
As always, the atmosphere was electrifying at Yad Eliyahu. Before the tip-off, there were a couple of things that put a smile on my face. First, there were chants of “Oded Katash” from the crowd. Last Thursday’s game against Villeurbanne we heard these chants after the win, but this was the first time we heard the fans chanting for the coach prior to the game. After two determined come-from-behind victories last week in Euroleague action, and taking home the Winner Cup in Sunday’s derby, the yellow and blue fans are starting to become more comfortable with Katash. Of course, one bad loss and everything can change – however, at this point, it’s nice that the fans are starting to warm to the coach after being so skeptical only a few weeks ago.

Derrick Williams – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Secondly, it was nice to see the crowd clap for Derrick Williams (17 points and 3 rebounds) when he was introduced at the beginning of the game. Williams of course spent last season with Maccabi, and while he is a confident and athletic player, and he showed flashes of why he was picked at number two in the 2011 NBA draft, he was very inconsistent, and was part of the polarizing trio together with Jaylen Reynolds and James Nunnally – fans will probably remember how they were condemned for going out for drinks after last season’s State Cup semi-final loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv. So while there was a question as to whether he would be greeted with cheers or jeers, it was good to see the fans show appreciation for his contribution to the team.

Once the game got started, while Maccabi went down 5-11 midway through the first quarter, they fought back to win the quarter 20-17, and looked like the stronger team for most of the game. The team seemed to gel well together, and other than 6 points for Alex Poythress (who finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds), no other player scored more than three points in the first ten minutes. Maccabi also led both the rebound and assist counts 8-5, and it set the tone for the rest of the game.

Oded Katash – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

The Bad: Not getting to the line enough
While Maccabi was perfect from the free throw line tonight, they only managed to get there eight times (compared to 20 free throws for PAO), and they drew a total of 15 fouls over the course of the game (compared to the 21 that they committed). This isn’t the first time this season that Maccabi has struggled to get to the line – they also went 8/8 against AS Monaco last week (compared to 17/23), and they were 9/12 earlier this week in the derby (compared to Hapoel’s 27/41) only went to the line 11 times against Fenerbahçe. Of course, at the end of the day a win is a win, but this is a stat that the team will need to improve if they are going to be a threat this season.

“I want to believe that this will change with time,” Katash said. “I think that as soon as we start to play with more flow in the game, and we find the way to always be in the right spacing, and to distribute the ball in the right way, we will get more open shots, and we will also be able to get to the line more.”

Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

The Ugly: Technical foul
With a little over five minutes left in the fourth quarter and Maccabi up 76-64, Marius Grigonis (9 points and 3 rebounds), while dribbling the ball up the court after a turnover, reach outed and hit the defending Wade Baldwin IV (14 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists) in the jaw, causing him to fall over. Down the other end, Mateusz Ponitka (12 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists) was fouled and went to the line for two shots. However, once Baldwin got back to his feet, he complained to the referee, resulting in him receiving a technical foul.

While Baldwin’s reaction was understandable in the circumstances, it was not a great moment – technical fouls more often than not look ugly – and it felt like it could have been a turning point in the game. Ponitka made all of his free throws, and after a turnover from Lorenzo Brown (22 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists) on the next play, Paris Lee (6 points and 3 assists) shot a 3-pointer, and Maccabi’s lead was reduced to only 6 points.

To his credit, Baldwin stayed composed, ended up making the next two baskets to give Maccabi a 10-point lead with 4:17 to go in the game, and from that point on PAO did not manage to get any closer than 8 points.

Joe Ragland – Photo Credit: FIBA

Up Next: Hapoel Holon at home and Baskonia Vitoria away
After an intense couple of weeks, which included a Euroleague double week last week, and then the Winner Cup final and tonight’s game this week, Maccabi now prepares for a home game in the Winner League on Sunday night against Hapoel Holon, who themselves had a good 82-73 win in their Champions League clash with Galatasaray last night. “A game in Holon is very challenging against and a good team,” Katash said. “We will need to make rotations and use players, and everyone will need to be ready to contribute. It may be that in distributing the minutes and choosing the players, we will be more calculated with respect to whom we let rest and looking forward, but that doesn’t mean that we will be coming to lose.”

Then later in the week, Maccabi will travel to Vitoria to face Baskonia, who are currently at 3-1 in Europe with a game tomorrow night against Villeurbanne in France. It will mark the beginning of a tough month for Maccabi, which will include home games against Barcelona and Olympiacos, and two more away games in Belgrade against Partizan and Red Star.

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!