They wanted it a little bit more: Maccabi must show emotion, focus positivity against Monaco in critical game 4 clash

May 4, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

This is it. Backs against the wall. Do or die. On the brink of elimination.

All of those sayings describe Maccabi Tel Aviv’s precarious situation as they head into game 4 of their Euroleague quarterfinal series against Monaco down 2-1 as their Final Four dreams hang on by a thread after a disappointing 83-78 loss at home on Tuesday.

The yellow-and-blue will need to bring it and bring it all on Thursday evening in order to send the series to a decisive 5th game which would take place back in the Principality next Tuesday or Wednesday evening. However, there are plenty of questions as too if Oded Katash and his squad will be able to send the series to a winner take all matchup for the right to play at the Zalgirio Arena in Kaunus, Lithuania.

Mike James and Jordan Loyd – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Sasa Obradovic and his charges have taken the bull by the horns since falling in game one at the Salle Gaston Medicin to Maccabi and have been in total control of the series. Whether it has been Elie Okobo, Donatas Motiejunas, John Brown, Jordan Loyd or Mike James whom the yellow-and-blue faithful awakened in game 3, Monaco has had player after player step up.

Maccabi on the other hand has seen very little of that in game 2 and game 3 where Katash has struggled to get the best out of his players, whether it has been Jarell Martin, Jake Cohen or even Lorenzo Brown as Monaco has locked down the yellow-and-blue each and every time they have tried to go on any type of run or pick up the momentum.

Monaco turned the tables on Maccabi and used the aggressiveness and intensity that Katash’s side showed in game one to thwart his plans in games 2 and 3 while the yellow-and-blue have absolutely no answers for the Principality’s team. None whatsoever.

Katash will need to find some very quickly or else this series will be over by the end of the game on Thursday. He will have to pull the proverbial rabbit from the hat as it just seems that Monaco has the personnel to continue to stymie Maccabi’s every move.

Oded Katash – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Should Katash change his starting 5? How about his rotation? Will there be tactical changes?

What can Maccabi do to end Thursday night with a win?

The lockerroom following the game was unfortunately similar to a wake. A quiet filled the air of disappointment and despair, as if nothing they did or will do can make an impact.

Perhaps Lorenzo brown said it best, “They wanted it a little bit more.”

Mike James and Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

There is no doubt that there is truth in that statement because Maccabi didn’t make one at home in front of their rabid fans who did everything to will their team to the win, but it wasn’t meant to be because they just didn’t want it as much as Monaco.

In fact, that was clear as day especially as time ticked off the clock in the final frame when Brown brought the ball up court without a sense of urgency. For a team that did not hold the lead once in the game that just can’t be.

But that is also the sense that one gets when hearing the players speaking less than 24 hours after the loss and just a clip about 24 hours prior to the tipoff of game 4.

It’s not just the message but also the tone of voice which was really down in the dumps immediately after game 3.

Maccabi Tel Aviv – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

It was the sounds and sights of the end is nigh which is the last thing that Maccabi fans want to feel or hear or see. But it’s also Katash who sounded like it was just another Euroleague game. Emotionless as he always is for the good and for the not so good.

Perhaps the change needs to be in the delivery of the message and not just the message itself.

“The pressure has been around from the first Euroleague game this season,” Katash said. “I didn’t find that the fans and excitement put us under pressure but it could have been over motivation and it can happen to any team. We really wanted to win this game and from here we have to move forward. We have done a great job so we have to play with a lot of passion and pride. We are playing against a good team and we have to try and move things to our style of play.”

John Dibartolomeo and Josh Nebo – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Captain John Dibartolomeo also spoke about the team’s situation after the defeat, “I think that everyone understands the importance of Game 4. Our backs are against the wall now. This will test our character, but we have been preparing for this moment all year. We’ve worked to get here, so we need to be focused, ready and positive.”

If there is ever a time to show a bit of emotion, focus and positivity it’s right here and right now because if Maccabi doesn’t it’s going to be bye, bye, so long and farewell for the yellow-and-blue.

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