Maccabi holds off Baskonia
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv held off TS Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 91-82 on Thursday night at Menora Mivtachim Arena. Othello Hunter and Elijah Bryant scored 14 points apiece to pace the Israeli champs, who improved to 9-11 on the season and sent Baskonia to the same record. Maccabi moved ahead of Baskonia in 12th place in the standings because it also beat the club when they met last month in Spain. Bryant and Angelo fueled a 12-2 first-quarter run that gave Maccabi the lead for good and the margin reached double figures early in the fourth quarter. Rokas Giedraitis and Alec Peters rallied Baskonia late, but Scottie Wilbekin and Bryant ensured Maccabi came away with the victory. Caloiaro finished with 12 points and Yovel Zoosman added 12 for the winners. Pierria Henry paced Baskonia with 19 points and 8 assists, Peters netted 18 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting and Giedraitis scored 12 in defeat.
Baskonia corralled offensive rebounds on its first three possessions, while Maccabi committed 2 early turnovers, as the visitors jumped to a 0-6 lead with Youssoupha Fall scoring 4 of those points. Zoosman got the hosts rolling with a three-pointer and Ante Zizic and Bryant each score twice as Maccabi came back to tie the game at 11-11. John DiBartolomeo buried a three to give his team its first lead, 14-13 and Caloiaro scored on consecutive possessions to complete a 12-2 Maccabi run. Threes by Peters and Luca Vildoza kept Baskonia close, but free throws by Hunter and a layup by Caloiaro made it 26-21 after 10 minutes. Zoran Dragic got going for Baskonia and Henry's free throws trimmed the deficit to 32-30. Omri Casspi helped Maccabi extend its lead before a Dragan bender triple made it 43-34. Henry shined with a three and a steal for a layup to bring Baskonia back. After a layup by Caloiaro, Peters's free throws ended the half with the scoreboard showing 47-43.
Scoreless in the first half, Wilbekin got his first points with a floater to start the third quarter, but a three by Vildoza had Baskonia within 3. The pace remained high as the teams traded shots. Achille Polonara had a nice block and a three-pointer to make it 60-58. Bender answered with a triple and a block to keep Maccabi ahead. Caloiaro ended the third quarter with a three for a 68-60 advantage. Hunter's alley-oop slam gave Maccabi its first double-digit lead. Baskonia fought back with a pair of threes by Peters and another from Giedraitis to get to 75-71 with 6 minutes remaining. A three by Zoosman gave Maccabi some breathing room, but Giedraitis answered in suit. A deep three by Wilbekin made it 83-76 with a little more than 2 minutes to play. Free throws and a dunk by Bryant helped Maccabi hold on late despite the best efforts of Henry.
Elijah Bryant scored 14 points, including free throws and a dunk in the penultimate minutes, to help Maccabi stave off Baskonia for the win. The Maccabi guard finished with 14 points on 5-of-5 two-point shooting. He also dished 4 assists for a performance index rating of 20. It marked the fifth time this season – and second game in a row – in which Bryant had a PIR in the 20s.
In a game that was close until the very end, Baskonia's 15 turnovers – 5 more than Maccabi – proved costly. Maccabi was also stronger shooting, making 25 of 41 two-point shots (61.0%) compared to 18 for 33 (54.5%) by Baskonia.
Maccabi will take on Real Madrid in its next game on Thursday, January 21, in Round 21. Baskonia hosts ALBA Berlin the following day.
Thursday, January 14, 2021