Four fixtures to the completion of the regular season, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv took a big step toward securing the first place and hosting the final four in Menora Mivtachim Arena. The Yellow & Blue recovered after a mediocre first half, came back from a 13 point deficit, and stayed undefeated at home in league play with an 86:80 win. Thursday: On the road against Guy Goodes's Maccabi Rishon LeZion.
"We aren't very happy, we are stressed on Quincy Acy's condition as we still don't what happened, and tomorrow he will have an MRI. Hopefully, it won't be serious", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos in his opening statement after the forward injured his leg in the fourth quarter. "Other than that, it was an important win. I think we played better in the second half and better defensively, allowing them only 33 points. Offensively we read the game better, no matter which defense they put on us, we read them thoroughly and scored easy baskets".
"The most crucial phase was our fight in the final minutes of the game; it was a close one until the closing 2 minutes. I think the 5 points were essential as it gave us a small point advantage, which led us to win the game. Congratulations to our players, it's not easy to play in these conditions with so many injuries and so many missing players, but this win is very good. Sometimes, when you are so enthusiastic about winning the game, you go individually, and this is not our style of basketball. That's why after the timeout, we changed completely again".
"Amar'e is a significant presence in our team, I think he fits a lot to our system, and he is much better after the break," Praised Sfairopoulos. "Throughout practices, he fully understood the philosophy and the structure we have on both sides of the court. That couldn't happen before the Corona break because we had a lot of games, not a lot of practice, so in all of these practices, he got into the philosophy, and now you see his performances".
"As for Scottie, he is also a vital presence for us. He scored 21 points tonight, dished 10 assists and showed why he is our leader. He can read the game very well, but whenever the team needs him to score, he scores passing, he passes. So that's why he's our leader".
"I think we were complaining too much in the first half, worrying about calls and stuff like that", Mentioned Angelo Caloiaro after the win. "In the second half, we were more concentrated on ourselves, and I thought Jerusalem was more worried about the refs and things you can't really control. I think that was the big difference in the game today".
"First quarter I don't know what they scored but way too many points. We held them around 30 three points in the second half, which was obviously another big factor", Answered the forward about the changes the team made in the second half. "We were just playing hard, solid defensively, and coach is always active on the sideline firing us up when we need it, you just heard it a little more now with no crowd".