Euroleague Game Review: Maccabi Tel-Aviv Vs. Partizan Belgrade

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Pre Game

Round 1 saw a matchup between two of last season´s playoffs teams in Tel Aviv to start the new Euroleague campaign. It was also a duel between Maccabi coach Oded Kattash who won the Euroleague in 2000 with Panathinaikos playing for now Partizan coach Zeljko Obradovic. The home side missed one of their lead guards in Wade Baldwin due to injury with rosters otherwise complete on both sides. 

1st Half 

  • Maccabi got off to the better start thanks to point guard Lorenzo Brown who started a perfect 4/4 from the field and scored 10 of Maccabi´s first 13 points on their way to an early 23-11 lead. 
  • Maccabi´s ballmovement was much better, displayed by an early 8-2 assist advantage. Partizan had trouble taking care of the ball with 5 early turnovers in the game, especially attacking the basket resulted in bad short passes inside the paint that were often deflected. 
  • Aleksa Avramovic led Partizan´s charge back into the game with 5/5 shooting (mostly attacking the basket) and 11 quick points to cut their deficit down to just 5 (32-27). He drove the ball very well out of pick and rolls to the rim and Maccabi had no answer for him in the 1st half. 
  • Both point guards kept dueling until halftime where Maccabi held the edge with a 55-43 lead while Lorenzo Brown scored 22 points and had 6 assists and Avramovic finished the 1st half with 20 points on 7/7 shooting from 2 point range for Partizan.
  • Maccabi held an 18-7 assist advantage in the first half which displayed their near flawless offense while Partizan on the other hand had lots of defensive troubles stopping the pick and roll and rotating on defense. 

2nd Half 

  • A slower start from both teams in terms of overall pace but it was the same picture as in the 1st half. Maccabi controlled the game completely and build their largest lead with 24 points in the 4th quarter. 
  • Partizan once again had to work a lot harder on offense to get good shots than Maccabi but managed to cut the scoring down a bit and allowed 41 points in the 2nd half (compared to 55 in the 1st) but couldn’t manage enough on offense to cut the deficit and make it a close game again. 
  • The 2nd half overall was a bit more balanced (41-38) but didn’t do much to alter the final score which saw Maccabi take an uncontested 96-81 win. 

Keys for Maccabi´s win 

  • Ballmovement: In their pick and roll and handoff heavy offense, Maccabi found a lot more ways to create efficient shots which was displayed by 31 assists on 36 made shots. They got to the basket a lot on drives which created a lot of chaos in Belgrade´s defense. 
  • Offensive Rebounding: Maccabi had 15 offensive boards which allowed a lot of 2nd chances and also finished the game with 13 more shots attempts (69-56). Both of these factors allowed for more scoring chances and made Partizan work even more on the defensive end.
  • Inside dominance: Partizan could not keep Maccabi away from the basket, highlighted by Maccabi shooting 62.8% on 2-pointers and 54 points scored via 2s. Maccabi controlled the paint and thus also the game.

Reasons for Partizan´s loss 

  • A lot of the above mentioned things in „Keys for Maccabi´s win“ played a part here. Partizan had to rotate a lot on defense as they could not stop Maccabi´s offense and that led to way too many individual and team defense breakdowns. Allowing 96 points is a lot and hard to overcome on the road to win the game. The constant rotating on defense also put Partizan in bad situations on the rebounds where they gave up a lot for Maccabi on the offensive glass.
  • Partizan scored very efficient in the paint with 26/39 on 2s (66.7%) but didn’t get much help from the 3pt line, where they shot just 29.4% on 5-17 which was not enough balance out their scoring. 
  • Overall Maccabi played with more intensity and fire and wanted this game more. For Partizan it was an intensity problem and they could not match Maccabi and just got outplayed and were a step too late often on the court.