Maccabi overpowers Valencia
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv overpowered Valencia Basket 76-63 on Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena to remain undefeated at home this season. The Israeli champs never trailed after the opening minutes and saw their lead reach as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter. The result lifted Maccabi to 2-2, while Valencia will stay at the bottom of the standings at 0-4. Scottie Wilbekin led Maccabi scorers with 14 points and 4-of-9 three-point shooting, Othello Hunter posted 13 points and 8 rebounds for the winners, Omri Casspi scored 12 and Nate Wolters tallied 10 points and 9 assists. Jordan Loyd paced Valencia with 17 points and Fernando San Emeterio and Bojan Dubljevic added 15 each.
The game was tight early with neither team leading by more than a shot until Casspi scored on an inbounds play to put Maccabi up 9-5 after 6 minutes. The Maccabi defense held Valencia without a basket for nearly 3 minutes, while Hunter's three-point play helped the hosts double up the visitors, 18-9. Dubljevic free throws made it 18-11 at the end of the quarter. Hunter put his stamp on the game with two more buckets from close-range to start the second quarter. Valencia came back with a vengeance behind Dubljevic to get within 24-21. Quino Colom drew the visitors as close as 2, but Wilbekin connected from behind the arc and Wolters set up Tarik Black and Casspi for baskets that put Maccabi up by 7. Loyd free throws made it 33-28 at the break. Deni Avdija scored on Maccabi's first two possessions of the second half and Wilbekin added a three as the hosts stretched the lead to 9. San Emeterio kept Valencia in the hunt, but Casspi scored twice in a 9-0 run that made it 48-33. Threes by Yovel Zoosman and John DiBartolomeo extended the margin 17. Aaron Doornekamp made a three-pointer to end the third quarter at 56-44. Avdija drilled a three as Maccabi scored the first 5 points of the fourth quarter. The hosts did not let up as a three by Wilbekin pushed the difference to 68-49 with 6 minutes remaining. Loyd heated up as Valencia shipped away at the deficit, but the outcome was never again in doubt.
Maccabi's defensive display
The Israeli champs put the emphasis on defense this game and succeeded to put Valencia in tough spots, which led to poor shooting. The visitors made just 10 of 30 two-point shots (33.3%) and 6 of 26 threes (23.1%).
Loyd's breakout for Valencia
Jordan Loyd had his finest game since joining Valencia with 17 points in 22 minutes. He took charge with 11 fourth-quarter points to try and rally his team late. With Loyd getting comfortable in the EuroLeague, he could become a dangerous weapon for Valencia.
History for Avdija
It wasn't his finest game, but it was a historic milestone for Deni Avdija. The teenage talent made his first start in a EuroLeague game and brought a lot of energy in his 16 minutes of the floor. It could have been more, but foul trouble limited him. Nevertheless, he posted 6 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist in what was likely the first of many starts.
The first two-game week of the season will see Maccabi remain at home to face Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Wednesday, October 30. That night, Valencia will visit FC Barcelona in a clash of Spanish clubs.
Thursday, October 24, 2019