Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C.

There's nothing like home: Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Partizan Belgrade

In front of a full house and with great basketball, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeats Partizan Belgrade 96:81 in the opening round of the EuroLeague and continues the great home record from last season

The setting of the Maccabi Tel Aviv fans (Photo: Srugim)

The Menora Mivtachim Hall was filled to capacity in honor of Maccabi Tel Aviv's first game in the EuroLeague for the 2023/24 season, which opened with a tremendous victory. Bonzie Colson, Lorenzo Brown, Jake Cohen, Antonius Cleveland, and Josh Nebo were the starting five against Belgrade. Before the game, a ceremony was held in honor of the legend of the club and Israeli basketball, Tal Brody, who turned 80 a few months ago, and the impressive fan displays were opened.

Nebo was in doubt for the game after the injury in the game against Hapoel Jerusalem, but he recovered and started. The game started at a fast pace running from side to side, with Maccabi Tel Aviv running away first after four minutes at 7:13, causing Partizan's coach Željko Obradović to call a timeout. Even after the timeout, the yellows continued theirs when they ran to 11:23. The gap only grew as the rule progressed and at its peak was 13:27, with the result of the quarter standing at 16:27 yellow.

The second quarter opened like the previous one with a 3-pointer by Sorkin that raised it to 16:30, a small run by the Serbs, reduced to eight before Lorenzo interrupted it and reached 15 points in the game already after less than 12 minutes. The Serbian momentum continued and the difference decreased to 27:32, which forced couch Kattash to take a timeout. The yellows came back sharp from the timeout and with the help of an unsportsmanlike foul and a three-pointer by Lorenzo Brown, they returned to a double-digit difference.

5:10 to the end of the first half, Obradović took a timeout after Maccabi Tel Aviv rose to a record difference of 15 points, 28:43, which also increased to 17 points. The Serbs answered with their own run when they reduced it to 45:37. Kattash took a timeout with the lead of nine points with 1:49 left in the quarter. The result of the half that was completely yellow, was 43:55. At the end of the half, Lorenzo Brown already had 22 points.

Maccabi Tel Aviv in the second half

The first basket in the second half came only after two minutes and it was Partizan who narrowed the margin, two minutes later again with the help of an unsportsmanlike foul, the yellows increased to a margin of 14, after it was already only seven. The momentum continued to shift, and three minutes to the end of the third quarter Maccabi Tel Aviv led 54:67. The status quo continued and the result at the end of the third quarter was 58:74.

The fourth quarter continued to be colored yellow when, after a little over a minute, Maccabi Tel Aviv already led 60:81, the difference increased to 24, before the Serbians managed to reduce it to 18 in a short run. The result moved here and there without significant changes, on the way to a tremendous victory in the opening round 81:96. Lorenzo Brown led with 22 points followed by Josh Nebo with 14, Roman Sorkin with 14, Bonzie Colson with 12, and Jasiel Rivero 11. Next week Ketch's apprentices left for Milan; Before that they will open the league with a home game against Kiryat Ata.

After the game, Roman Sorkin said: "I don't think we would have looked that different from the previous game, wherein the first half we would have looked great, but injuries to players ruined the cards. We prepared for today's game in a great way, and together with the crowd's push, we reached this result.".

The team's coach, Oded Kattash, said at the press conference: "I have to give the credit to the crowd, we missed it. I was very worried about Wade's injury when the players were not at their best during this time, and I'm glad we reacted like that." He also commented on Tamir Blatt's ability: "Coming back to Israel is exciting for him, but this is his third season in the EuroLeague and he is very experienced, and he brought us his leadership."

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