Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv is heating up at the right time, recording their fourth consecutive top division win on Saturday night, this time an 86:65 win over Hapoel Holon in Menora Mivtachim Arena. It was the Yellow & Blue's final home game of the regular season before playoff contention begins next week, as Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad played a smooth team game. Six players scored over 8 points each, as 27 of the team's 32 baskets came off of assists, adding to that 45% (9 of 20) from behind the arc.
Ante Zizic led the way with 15 points, Angelo Caloiaro contributed 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, Dragan Bender and Scottie Wilbekin (4 assists, 4 steals) each scored 13 points. Omri Casspi had an overall excellent game, finishing with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Maccabi will complete the top division games on Monday on the road against Hapoel Jerusalem in the capital. Later this week, Maccabi will face Maccabi Rishon Le'Zion in the State Cup Finals.
Giannis Sfairopoulos opened the contest with Scottie Wilbekin, Yovel Zoosman, Angelo Caloiaro, Omri Casspi, and Ante Zizic. On the other end, Oded Brandwein, Frederic Bourdillon, C.J. Harris, Chris Johnson, and Nate Sestina started for Stefanos Dedas's squad.
Casspi dished an assist to Caloiaro inside and later hit a fadeaway mid-range jumper for the Yellow & Blue first points of the night, but Sestina and Harris set the tone for the visitors scoring four points each giving Holon an early lead, 8:10. Caloiaro and Bender stayed active under the basket, attacking the offensive boards leading to second-chance points and giving the hosts the lead, 17:13.
Ex Maccabi Bourdillon and Guy Pnini knocked down shots reducing the margin, but Caloiaro concluded an excellent first quarter with his fourth layup in 10 minutes giving the hosts a 19:18 advantage.
Bender converted twice from the free-throw line, and a Jones led to easy points by John DiBartolomeo, but Sestina kept the Purples in it scoring five consecutive points, tying the game at 23 aside. Willy Workman laid in back-to-back layups completing an 11:2 stretch retaking the lead, but the Yellow & Blue responded with 6 unanswered points as Zizic slammed in two and Oz Blayzer knocked down a shot from behind the arc, 31:29.
Yovel Zoosman drilled a corner three after a beautiful pass by Blayzer, and Wilbekin closed out the first half with a buzzer-beating highlight reel deep triple with the backboard, 39:94.
The second half started exactly how coach Sfairopoulos wanted, Zoosman dished two straight assists to Zizic inside, Wilbekin knocked down a three-pointer and added a steal on the defensive end for an easy Caloiaro slam, completing a 9:0 run in two minutes, 48:34. Sestina and Caloairo exchanged free throws, as another Wilbekin steal and Zoosman assist to Zizic ramped the lead to 16.
Sestina and Pnini drilled shots from behind the arc, while on the other end, Casspi worked his way in the paint for two consecutive layups, and Bender, with a beautiful defensive possession, denied Bourdillon. Caloiaro and Wilbekin, with a mid-range jumper, brought the lead back to 15, but Harris hit a three, slightly reducing the margin, 62:50.
Wilbekin stayed hot, scoring five consecutive points to open up the final 10 minutes, ramping the edge up to 17, but Holon tied to make a fourth-quarter push as Sestina hit back-to-back triples and Johnson laid in two, narrowing the gap down to 11, 69:58.
Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad locked in defensively, leading to a 12:2 run as Casspi started it with a layup and a block, Zoosman and Blayzer knocked down shots from deep, and Bender with a strong two-handed jam over Workman sealed the deal with three minutes left on the game clock, 81:60. Dori Sahar dished two straight assists to Bender, ramping the margin to 21. Maccabi passes by Holon 86:65.