A bad night for Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv which sorted from five consecutive defeats. The new head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos faced a well organised Efes Istanbul, which didn’t give away easy shots and found six players in double figures.
Coach Ataman’s team pasted 90-77 Maccabi after a faltering first half. In the second period, Efes kept control of the game and didn’t concede many offensive rebounds. Aside from that, a consistent Bryant Dunston had a leading role and ignite his team with an outstanding performance.
In the first quarter, Efes started aggressively, with a quick move on the low-post by Dunston and a triple jump shot by Vasilije Micic heating the Sinan Erdem Dome. Black responded with two tremendous dunks and a quick penetration by Kane put Maccabi in the lead 5-8. Dunston played dominantly and pinned the ball against the backboard after a good penetration in the paint by Kane.
Another block by Dunston on Roll led to a fast-break and found a wide-open Micic, who didn’t hesitate from three: a tremendous defense turned into a glorious offence for 14-10. Tyus got an easy alley-hoop and threw it down at the buzzer for the 16-14. Micic led the first quarter with 8 points in a low scoring start, which basically saw Dunston and O’ Bryant battle in the painted area.
In the second quarter, Scottie Wilbekin immediately had a great impact and scored a three pointer, which put Maccabi in the lead 16-17. Simon came into play and knocked down a three and brought back Efes ahead 19-17. Larkin drove into the lane and easily scored with a floater. Pleiss substituted Dunston, who scored 8 points, but still the center was a huge problem for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Simon with a magical footwork stretched the lead to + 12. Kane put himself into rhythm and shot from 3 for the – 7 for Maccabi. Tyus and Black were decisive in offensive rebounds: 11 against 3 of Efes helped Maccabi cut the deficit.
In the third quarter, O’ Bryant chimed in with 8 points and 6 offensive rebounds and Maccabi seemed to be dominant on the Efes backboard. Micic responded offensively from beyond the arc and with a quick spin move brought Efes in the lead 41-33. Simon dished magical assists for Beaubois and Dunston, who scored 12 points and put Efes 12 points ahead. O’Bryant was the last man on the ship, scoring 2/5 from three with 17 points already, a lovely pass for Alex Tyus incredibly brought back Maccabi to -7.
In the fourth quarter, Motum came off the bench and shot two consecutive three pointers and led Efes to 68-56. Larkin caught on fire and served an amazing pass to Pleiss for an easy layup. Larkin then hit a three jump shot, which gave the +14 for Efes, with 5 minutes left. Larkin outclassed Dibartolomeo and it seemed the game was slipping away for Maccabi. Pleiss and Dunston were tremendous in the offensive rebounds and intimidated Maccabi, which recouped only 5 rebounds in the second half. A great come-back of Larkin gave the win to Efes and the fifth straight defeat for Maccabi.