Ainars Bagastkis saw Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv for exactly what this team is – the spurts on offense and defense, the lapses, the ball-handling issues – all of it. But at the end, he saw a win, his first as head coach of the team. Maccabi won 94:83 in Rishon Lezion and went to 10:2 in league play.
With Maik Zirbes, Joe Alexander and Sonny Weems not playing, the order of the day early on was clear – feed Colton Iverson inside. Maccabi used its size advantage to jump ahead with Iverson enjoying a 20 point showing. After halftime, Andrew Goudelock (12 points) and Sylven Landsberg (21 points) got hot and Maccabi jumped to a 20 point lead (68:48), but then Bagatskis saw Maccabi’s biggest problem in recent weeks - the inability to close out games. Rishon got back to within 4, setting up a close finish, until some late-game magic from Victor Rudd (11) insured victory.
Gal Mekel got the nod as starting points guard and had a solid performance with 8 points and 6 assists. DJ Seeley scored 9. “I think we played very well for 25 minutes”, said Bagatskis, “but I can’t explain what led to us losing almost all of our lead. We need to stretch out our quality play to 40 minutes”.
“other than that, I saw players who want to be in Maccabi, who are willing to fight for their team and play tough. All the rest matters less at this point”.