“We need to keep fighting” Dorsey and Maccabi battle on despite loss to CSKA as Clyburn and Lundberg star

Dimitrios Itoudis – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

SECOND QUARTER BLUES

Maccabi Tel Aviv kept CSKA close early on, after an even-steven first quarter, but then the wheels fell off in a big way in quarter number two as it took forever and a half for them to get to their ten point total in the frame. From there, CSKA built up a big lead which they saw evaporate but held on to notch the 84-80 win. Nothing seemed to work for the Yellow & Blue both offensively and defensively as they looked confused and confounded on the court without an answer to Will Clyburn and Co.’s performance in the second period of play. Whatever CSKA coach Dimitrios Itoudis wanted his team to do, they did without any problem at all as they frustrated Maccabi coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos and his crew. “We dictated the tempo and we expected the switches and hustles,” said the Russian’s bench boss. “It’s very important for us to grab wins when we are bringing back players from injuries and new players.” Tyler Dorsey had this to say about the game that was, “In general it wasn’t a blowout and we had a lapse in the second quarter and we couldn’t score. We had a lapse and that can happen against quality teams like them.” Finally, Sfairopoulos also reflected on the decisive frame, “The second period decided the game. We turned over the ball, scored on the fast break and we panicked as we couldn’t execute on offense and on defense. We have to improve that we don’t have dead minutes but we have to keep fighting on defense, we fought in the fourth quarter and we could have gotten closer to them.”

Tyler Dorsey – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

COMEBACK FALLS SHORT

On the other hand, the fourth quarter was all Maccabi and after going down by twenty points during the third quarter, Othello Hunter and Tyler Dorsey started to turn up the heat and began chipping away at the CSKA lead. Little by little the pair helped the hosts get closer and closer and closer until it was 82-80 with 13 seconds to go but time ran out on the Yellow & Blue as they fell by four points and for the 11th time this Euroleague season the club lost yet another close game. “It is frustrating from one side but it’s also better than losing by 25 points,” said Sfairopoulos. “The fact that we don’t give up and fight until the end is good. You can count how many we have lost by so few points.” One interesting point coming out of halftime was that the Maccabi players got together and spoke for about a minute of the court with 5 minutes left in the break. Dorsey explained what was discussed, “Just believe is what Othello Hunter said. We have to keep fighting but we came up a bit short and it’s tough when things don’t go well in the first half and it’s tough against a team that has so much talent.” Dorsey also spoke about what he saw as the key for the comeback, “We built energy, double teamed and changed what we were doing. Twenty points is hard to come back from and we got close like every other close game this season that we lost. But you have to keep battling and not give up.”

Iffe Lundberg – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

NEWCOMERS & RETURNEES

As coach Itoudis mentioned earlier, that there are injured and new players working their way back and into the team. In this case, the Greek maestro was talking about Will Clyburn who returned to action last week and scored just two points while Iffe Lundberg made his Euroleague debut just last week. How did Clyburn do against Maccabi? How about 21 points in dominating fashion to earn the game’s MVP while Lundberg whom The Sports Rabbi interviewed this week, put in another double dight game with 12 points via a quartet of 3-pointers. “Clyburn is very important for us and he was out for two months injured. We want to make sure he comes back well,” said Itoudis. As for Lundberg, the coach was also happy to be able to compliment his new guard, “I’m very happy for Iffe. We have been following him in Spain and we had the opportunity to see him in the VTB. He brings us a combo guard and can handle and create for others and be consistent. He’s a new guy but he is motivated and has drive. He is someone who has had a lot of adversity, he never falls back and always goes forward.” Lundberg, the Danish star also reflected on the game and on his performance thus far, ”I have a lot of confidence in myself, but for me, it is easy. The coaching staff and the players, they trust me a lot, so I have been able to adjust pretty quickly, I would say, but it is not only me. The team has also been really, really good towards me.”

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