Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Bayern Munich 80-68 in Germany as the Yellow & Blue’s winning streak ended at three games. The hosts got off to a hot start and controlled the pace of the game throughout the forty minutes record the well deserved victory. Elijah Bryant was the Maccabi high scorer with 14 points, Aaron Jackson added 11 points and 6 assists while Othello Hunter scored 10 points in the loss. Nihad Dedovic led the way for Bayern with 19 points and Paul Zipser scored 17 points in the win.
Bayern Munich came out flying as Nihad Dedovic and Paul Zipser did the damage early for the hosts as they took a 23-12 lead after ten minutes. Aaron Jackson led the charge distributing the ball in the second half to get the Yellow & Blue back into the game as Elijah Bryant and Quincy Acy scored to pull Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad to within 2-points at 35-33 by halftime.
Scottie Wilbekin finally got numbers up on the scoreboard with a pair of triples while Hunter put down a monster slam to give Maccabi a 47-45 lead midway through the third quarter. However, Leon Radosevic and Petteri Koponen found the basket as the hosts retook the lead 57-53 at the end of thirty minutes.
Zipser and Bray added to the Bayern lead but Jackson answered right back with a 3-pointer, Wilbekin added one of his own and Hunter scored off a put back basket to cut the lead to 66-63 with 4:45 left in regulation time. But Maodo Lo, Greg Monroe and Dedovic put the game out of reach as Bayern took the 80-68 win.
1) Maccabi played arguably their worst game of the season at Bayern, as the looked like the Maccabi that I had seen on Gameday 1 at Khimki Moscow. Disorganized, no power, lack of energy and just plain beaten to each and every ball whether it was a rebound, a loose ball or anything else in between. Aaron Jackson spoke about coming out slow, “It was a tough game and we started out flat. They got a lot of easy buckets ate the start of the game and I think we gave them their rhythm. We fought hard the second quarter and in the second half we played as hard as we could but we were playing catch up the whole game.”
“We missed a lot of 50-50 balls” explained Coach Sfairopoulos. “We gave up a lot of easy points on fastbreak, transition and from rebounds that we said this is something that we need to avoid.” Bayern did commit many turnovers, 17 of them but Maccabi gave up 14 on their part as well. “We emphasized how important it is to win rebound,” Coach Oliver Kostic said. “Of course, we know that turnovers are part of the game and this is not a good number for us, But in general, we had great rebounds. Also we outrebounded Maccabi offensively, which is great. And of course in the future we need to work to reduce the number of turnovers. In the first half especially from our turnovers they came back in the game and tied.”
2) Yes, Maccabi did come back into the game and they even looked like they would have a chance to steal an undeserved victory but the truth always ins out and it was Bayern’s night. Mentally the club wasn’t there and coach Sfairopoulos agreed, “They played much better all game and deserved to win. For us it was a bad game. We were not concentrated, we were very late defensively. Offensively we made bad decisions. We were also slow in our decisions.” Elijah Bryant also felt this was one of the reasons Maccabi came up short, “We started off slow and we were talking too much to the refs tonight. We weren’t mentally prepared as we should have been especially myself. But it’s one game and we will find the way to snap back.”
3) Aaron Jackson played his best game for the Yellow & Blue scoring 11 points, dishing 6 assists and finishing the game with an efficiency of 18 while clocking 26 minutes. A-Jax looked like the guard that Maccabi was expecting to get, one that is a veteran leader, a decision maker who sees the floor and can just make things happen. The rust that we saw in his first few games looks to be gone and Jackson is ready to shine in the spotlight with his savvy moves and leadership skills. Although the Yellow & Blue fell, #9 looked at the bright side, “This is a game that we can learn from and I’ve been on well experienced teams where you need losses like this. If you do have losses like this it’s better now than at the end of the road.”
It was good to see Nihad Dedovic back on the floor after being on the shelf for the third time this season. Maccabi would have preferred to not see him have his best game of their season against them, but so is life as the Zlatan look a like scored 19 points and ended the contest with an efficiency rating of 20. “This was the first game that I played without any pain, that I could play the whole game without any problems. The season so far for me has been really difficult with bigger or smaller injuries and with our schedule, it’s very difficult to recover. Thank God I’m back today without any problems. It’s even better that we played an excellent game and we won.“
Many Maccabi players had poor outings whether it was Scottie Wilbekin who handed out 8 assists but went 3/17 from the field, Quincy Acy with 4 turnovers, Jalen Reynolds with 3 turnovers or Tyler Dorsey who went 2/8 (0/5 from 3) and looked out of sync all night long. Credit to Bayern who just kept the Yellow & Blue off their game all night long.