2021-22Regular SeasonRound 22
January 20, 2022 CET: 20:05
Local time: 21:05 MENORA MIVTACHIM ARENA

Maccabi snaps eight-game losing skid

Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv finally returned to the winning column as it convincingly beat Olympiacos Piraeus 84-69 to snap an eight-game losing streak. It was Maccabi’s first EuroLeague game of 2022 and the first time the team has played since an Israeli League contest on January 3. Ante Zizic led the way with 23 points for Maccabi, which won for the first time since beating AS Monaco 95-84 in Round 10 on November 17, 2021, and improved to 8-11. Keenan Evans scored 14 points, Scottie Wilbekin added 13 and James Nunnally produced 11 points and 4 assists. Neither team could pull away until a 15-4 Maccabi run to lead by 11 points in the third quarter. And Maccabi held Olympiacos to just 1 free throw in the first 5 minutes of the fourth quarter. Olympiacos dropped its second straight game to fall to 12-7 - including a 3-7 record on the road. Georgios Printezis was the top scorer for the guests with 13 points while Tyler Dorsey scored 12 points against his former team.

Both teams scored on their first possessions but Maccabi used some early intense defense to keep Olympiacos scoreless for more than 5 minutes and led 8-2 thanks to 5 Zizic points. Kostas Papanikolaou finally snapped the rut and added a three-pointer. He was followed from deep by Sasha Vezenkov to pull Olympiacos within 12-10. Dorsey converted a layup to knot the game at 14-14. Angelo Caloiaro responded with a three-point play for the hosts, who finished the first quarter ahead 19-16.

Shaquielle McKissic opened the second quarter with free throws after an unsportsmanlike foul and Printezis drained a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to put Olympiacos ahead 19-21. Wilbekin answered straight away with a floater only to see McKissic hit a triple and layup for a 23-28 advantage. After a timeout, Maccabi fought back into the game with triples from John DiBartolomeo and Nunnally to reclaim the lead, 31-30. Six lead changes followed with Zizic scoring 7 straight points for Maccabi to make it 40-36. The score was 40-38 at the break.

Thomas Walkup opened the second half with a three-pointer to give Olympiacos back the lead. But Zizic continued his dominant game with 7 points and Evans hit a triple and three-point play in a 15-4 surge to put Maccabi up 55-45. A Nunnally triple pushed the advantage to 60-49. Kostas Sloukas countered with a triple and Moustapha Fall trimmed it to 60-54. But Maccabi led 66-56 after 30 minutes.

After Evans scored to start the final frame, Vezenkov made one of two free throws and the score was 68-57. But the guests could not get anything going offensively. Caloiaro hit three free throws to extend the lead to 75-57. Fall finally scored Olympiacos’s first basket of the quarter with 4:47 minutes left in the game. Wilbekin added a pair of three-pointers and the lead swelled to 81-59. Olympiacos did some cosmetics for the final scoreline with Dorsey converting back-to-back three-point plays in a 0-10 run to make it look more respectable.

Zizic nears career-highs

Ante Zizic was the offensive star of the game for Maccabi. The 25-year-old Croatian big man scored 23 points from making 10 of 12 shots and 3 of 5 free throws. He also grabbed 6 rebounds, dished out 1 assist, swiped 2 steals and blocked one shot. All of that gave him a performance index rating of 33. The PIR evened Zizic’s career-high - set on March 30, 2021, against FC Barcelona. In that game, Zizic also scored 24 points, which is his career-high. And he was just one point off that mark against Olympiacos.

Maccabi marks historic moments

There was a buzz around Menora Mivtachim Arena long before the game started on Thursday. The sold-out crowd was clamoring for a few historic-making moments. The first was the moment the team, famous for its yellow-and-blue uniforms, took the court wearing white threads for the first time in club history. The white look was part of the club’s celebration of 90 years since its formation. During a timeout in the second quarter, fans were able to cheer on two legendary coaches who were posthumously inducted into the Maccabi Hall of Fame. For Yehoshua Rozin, who coached the club for 18 years, the number 54 was raised to the rafters to mark his first season and first championship. For Ralph Klein, who played for Rozin on that 1954 team, the number 77 was chosen to mark the year he guided Maccabi to its first EuroLeague title.

Telling numbers: Defense and turnovers

The biggest key to the game was Maccabi’s defense, which held Olympiacos to just 69 points. Olympiacos shot just 6 of 22 from three-point range (27.3%). Despite losing the rebounding battle 39-29 and grabbing 8 offensive rebounds to 11 for Olympiacos, Maccabi took the second-chance points category 11-2. Maccabi also converted 15 Olympiacos turnovers into 23 points while Olympiacos had 10 points off Maccabi’s 4 turnovers. The 4 turnovers tied for the club’s fewest in EuroLeague history - accomplished twice (February 6, 2003, against Buducnost Podgorica and January 10, 2008, against Unicaja Malaga).

Keenan Evans - Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv - EB21
Thursday, January 20, 2022
Euroleague.net
Referees: LATISEVS, OLEGS; PANTHER, ANNE; THEPENIER, HUGUES
Attendance: 8982 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv19212618
Olympiacos Piraeus16221813
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv19406684
Olympiacos Piraeus16385669
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 WILBEKIN, SCOTTIE 29:00 13 2/4 3/6         3 1 3     2   7
2 EVANS, KEENAN 33:14 14 3/5 1/3 5/5   2 2 4 1 1   1 3 5 17
4 CALOIARO, ANGELO 21:41 8 2/3   4/4 1 4 5 1         3 4 14
6 WILLIAMS, DERRICK 14:07 4 1/1   2/2   4 4   2   1   1 1 11
7 TAYLOR, KAMERON 5:38     0/1                   1   -2
8 REYNOLDS, JALEN 13:29 8 3/8   2/2 3 2 5 1 1   1   2 1 10
9 SORKIN, ROMAN 2:15                         1   -1
12 DIBARTOLOMEO, JOHN 20:35 3 0/4 1/4     3 3 2 1       5 3  
15 COHEN, JAKE 2:12                         2   -2
21 NUNNALLY, JAMES 29:44 11 1/4 3/7   1 1 2 4 1       1 1 11
23 ZIZIC, ANTE 26:16 23 10/12   3/5 1 5 6 1 2   1     4 33
99 ZIV, IFTAH 1:49                              
Team           1   1               1
Totals 200:00 84 22/41 8/21 16/18 7 21 28 16 9 4 3 1 21 19 99
        53.7% 38.1% 88.9%
Head coach: SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Olympiacos Piraeus
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 21:38 5 1/3 1/3         2 1 2       2 4
1 ACY, QUINCY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2 DORSEY, TYLER 17:06 12 4/5 0/2 4/4       1   1     3 4 10
5 LARENTZAKIS, GIANNOULIS 18:44   0/1 0/2     2 2 4   2     4 1 -2
10 FALL, MOUSTAPHA 24:31 8 4/4     1 3 4     5     3 2 6
11 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 18:22 7   1/5 4/4   2 2 5 1 2     1 3 11
12 MARTIN, HASSAN 12:32   0/2     4 4 8     1     1   4
14 VEZENKOV, SASHA 25:45 6 1/4 1/2 1/2 1 6 7       1     3 12
15 PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS 14:15 13 3/3 1/3 4/4   2 2           1 2 14
16 PAPANIKOLAOU, KOSTAS 23:59 7 2/3 1/2   1 5 6 1   1   1 1 1 10
17 JEAN-CHARLES, LIVIO 2:57 2 0/1   2/2               1 2 1 -1
77 MCKISSIC, SHAQUIELLE 20:11 9 2/3 1/3 2/4       3 2 1   1 3 2 6
Team           2 2 4               4
Totals 200:00 69 17/29 6/22 17/20 9 26 35 16 4 15 1 3 19 21 78
        58.6% 27.3% 85%
Head coach: BARTZOKAS, GEORGIOS

Head Coaches

SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
“I’m very happy that the first game of our club’s 90th year of history ended in a win. We’re very happy we won this game to honor two legendary coaches. We’re very happy that we won this game after eight losses. And we’re very happy that we started to play again in the way I want us to play. That means we play excellent on defense. We kept the first ranked team in points per possession in the league to just 69 points. In the last couple of minutes, we slowed down a little bit. It was very important that we started very good offensively in the second half. And our defense was also good. But I think the key was the beginning of the fourth quarter, they didn’t score in the first 5 minutes. We want to continue to play with habits. I am also happy that we gave happiness to our fans again. And I saw the fans celebrating again in the stands and cheering for us and for the team and being happy again watching the team play good basketball.”
BARTZOKAS, GEORGIOS
Olympiacos Piraeus
“I would like to congratulate Maccabi. They played with desire and big-time motivation and they deserved to win. For us, it was the second game in a row that we didn’t play how we wanted. It looks like we didn’t deserve to win because we didn’t have all those important things that create the result. I’m talking about making fouls when necessary, to hustle, to get the 50-50 balls. All of those are important things in basketball. We didn’t deserve to win. Congratulations to Maccabi. This is the EuroLeague. You need to get over winning or losing. And right now, with all the things happening with the pandemic - postponed games and COVID cases - we need to get back in shape as soon as possible.”

Players

ZIZIC, ANTE
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
“First of all I just want to congratulate my teammates and coaching staff. We did an amazing job, especially defensively. Offensively we were making shots - my teammates were finding me for easy layups and easy baskets. But tonight, team effort won.”
EVANS, KEENAN
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
“We just got back to practice during those COVID weeks and we just pushed each other and we worked. And I felt like the biggest thing of this game was turnovers. Every game in this losing streak we were on it was like 15-plus turnovers. We really changed the game with turning the ball over only four times.”