Euroleague Basketball: 3 Straight Wins Get Maccabi Back in Business

— by Amir Shoam

Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Fenerbahce-Ulker Istanbul 94-85 yesterday and went back up to a 5-5 record in the basketball Euroleague second group stage. After an even first quarter (22-22), Maccabi went up to 33-23, and the Turks never managed to cut the difference down to less than five points.

Ricky Hickman scored 18 points with great accuracy (3/5 three-pointers, 7/8 free throws and 1/1 two-pointer). David Logan finished with 15 points (5/7 three-pointers), 3 assists, 2 rebounds, one steal and no turnovers. Devin Smith added 16 points (4/6 three-pointers and 2/3 two-pointers).

More after the jump.
Despite finishing the first stage on top of its group with a 8-2 record, Maccabi did not start the current stage well. Maccabi’s only win from the first five games was the previous encounter with Fenerabhce-Ulker. Since then, except for an understandable 77-82 loss to Barcelona, Maccabi got impressive wins against Basiktas Istanbul (77-55), Siena (92-61) and Caja Laboral (66-62). Next week Maccabi will play against Khimki Mosscow. After 14 games, the top four teams out of eight in each group will move up to the quarter-final series stage.

Head coach David Blatt concluded:

We came today with a very determined mindset knowing that this was a critical game and we played accordingly. We saw some great basketball and teamwork and that’s how Maccabi needs to play. We made a lot of three-pointers because we moved the ball well and got to open shots; we didn’t take crazy shots. The game against Khimki could determine our entire season and it will be a real battle.

Follow me on twitter @amirshoam

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