Maccabi Tel Aviv's defense asphyxiated an impotent Valencia Basket (84-72) on Thursday in the second half of the match they played in Israel and complicates his goal of finishing the regular phase of the Euroleague among the top eight to be able to repeat in the tournament the next edition. With good circulation, Valencia started the game comfortable and took control of the scoreboard thanks to the aggressiveness of Louis Labeyrie. But Maccabi moved the bench, found the physical to raise the defensive bar and that prevented the Spanish team from escaping (14-18, m.10)
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It cost Martin Hermannsson that the ball kept turning, Valencia got stuck, the presence of Derrick Williams just made the team dizzy and Maccabi got ahead without doing too much. A pair of 3-pointers by Klemen Prepelic and the return of Sam Van Rossom and Bojan Dubljevic allowed the visitors to have a hard time
The Montenegrin pivot's tenacity in the offensive rebound and his quality allowed Valencia to reach the break with a minimal advantage and after having transferred the bad feelings to his rival (33-35, m.20). Maccabi returned to the track again with a very tough defense in the front row that tied up Valencia and that with the points of an inspired Chris Jones gave him the initiative. Van Rossom had to appear to hold the team with eight points in a row
With the team back in, Nikola Kalinic and Labeyrie joined the scoring but Israeli pressure continued to wear Valencia and allowed them to enter the last quarter with a good advantage (62-56, m.30). Maccabi's intensity allowed him to comfortably maintain his dominance and extend it until he put Valencia on the ropes (71-61, m. 35). A time-out and the return of Labeyrie for an off-center Williams gave Valencia some peace of mind, but having completely lost control of the rebound and the feeling of being several steps behind in the physical aspect prevented any hint of a comeback and left the image of an impotent team.