Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN – It took double overtime but Maccabi Tel Aviv nipped Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 94-92 thanks to Yovel Zoosman’s basket with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game. Jeremy Pargo continued his fine play with 17 points and 6 assists while Alex Tyus went a perfect 7/7 from the field for 16 points as John DiBartolomeo added 14 points in the win. Alex Hamilton’s 20 points and Cameron Long’s 18 points led the way for Rishon.
Maccabi Tel Aviv took a 3-point lead after ten minutes of action as Black scored four points for the yellow-and-blue while Long dropped five points for Rishon Le’Zion. DiBartolomeo was busy in the second quarter while Tarik Black continued his dominance in the paint for Maccabi but Long kept the host’s in the game as Rishon went into halftime down by just two, 42-40.
Itay Segev was active to start the half while Hamilton also provided the offensive spark for Coach Guy Goodes squad as Rishon knotted up Maccabi at 62-62 with ten minutes remaining in the contest. The two sides went back and forth in the final frame as Maccabi took a 77-73 lead on a Tyus alleyoop but a pair of buckets by Long and Hamilton with under 14 seconds left in the game tied up the game to send it to overtime.
Hamilton dropped 7 points to put Rishon out in front 86-79 with under two minutes left in the first overtime but a Pargo bucket, a DiBartolomeo triple and a Roll layup with 7.7 left evened up the contest 86-86 as the squads went into a second extra session. Pargo led the charge for Maccabi as Zoosman put home a layup with 1.5 seconds left to record the hard earned win.
We will be ready
Rishon took Maccabi to double overtime which was probably the last thing the Yellow & Blue wanted to do especially with a huge Euroleague game in Munich against Bayern on Thursday. With a tough comeback victory on Saturday night against Nes Ziona and a home win over Darussafaka this past Thursday, Maccabi will need to be ready for a must win matchup in just a few days. Haven’t we seen this movie before? We certainly have. Back in January, Maccabi beat Panathinaikos at home and followed that up with a Saturday night victory over Gilboa/Galil and a double overtime special at Ashdod. When they finally got to Baskonia, they laid the proverbial egg and were totally dominated. How will Maccabi avoid the same fate in Munich this week? I asked Coach Sfairopoulos just that, “Everyone knows that we have a very important game and we will do the best for our squad to be ready to play this tough one. As for the practice, intensity, concentration and preparation, in all the aspects that we need to get ready, we will be ready.”
Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN
Jeremy Pargo has begun to look like the Pargo of old with two good Israeli league games in a row. Not only did he lead Maccabi in scoring against Rishon, he came up with clutch buckets in both overtimes periods. I asked the guard how he is feeling after coming a little under two months ago, “I feel myself getting my athleticism and aggression back, coming into a team that’s been set for 3 months without me and they have a style that they play. As Lebron James said about Kevin Love that he needs to “Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN.” That’s the goal; take it game by game and try to do what I can, when I can. I was a little frustrated at myself tonight as I was passive when we needed aggression. But it will come and I just want to keep plugging away at it.”
That’s the winner that I should have gotten against Ashdod
Yovel Zoosman who had a quiet night, scored the game winner after he cut into the lane, received a pin point perfect pass and scored the basket which looked as easy as pie. DeAndre Kane had the ball in the dying seconds of the 2nd overtime and it looked like he was going to try to score but at the last moment he thread the needle right to an open Zoos. Kane spoke about the final sequence, “I have a lot of confidence in my shot and I know those guys were messing with me and backing me up to let me shoot. I may miss but I keep shooting. My teammates have confidence in me and my coach has confidence in me and that’s all I need. Scottie threw it (the ball) to me and I was going to shoot and Stephens ran at me and I drove. Somehow Zoos made a great cut and I found him for a layup. It was a great play.” Zoosman also talked about having the opportunity to score the winner, “That’s the winner that I should have gotten against Ashdod. The game wasn’t played at a very high level and there was a lack of energy from both teams. We are tired but happy with the win. I’m happy I got in that good position for the shot and the credit for that goes to DeAndre Kane.”
It’s dangerous what we can do
Overtime – Tarik Black and Alex Tyus have both been playing extremely well of late and are both putting up impressive numbers on both ends of the floor. In fact, Tyus picked up the player of the game award and not only scored 16 points but also grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked 4 shots. I caught up with Black following the game, “It feels great and my hope and faith is in the team. It’s not just about me and him but we are an amazing team if everybody gets clicking. When everybody else gets clicking the way they should and play at the highest level and we all do it together and me and Alex don’t drop off. If we can all get to the highest level, it’s dangerous what we can do.”