Round 16 of the EuroLeague saw Brock Motum back at his best albeit in a loss, while Jonah Bolden's Maccabi Tel Aviv lost for the fourth time in five games.
Traveling to Greece to take on EuroLeague giants Panathinaikos Athens, Anadolu Efes Istanbul got off to a terrible start as the host's plethora of stars got going. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Nick Calathes and James Gist were in great form for the home side, opening up a 23-12 first quarter lead. Motum came in off the bench and provided an immediate scoring impact as Efes looked to claw back the margin. However Panathinaikos held firm, extending their lead to 14 at the half time break courtesy of a buzzer-beating triple by Marcus Denmon.
The third period was more of the same, as Panathinaikos looked to put the result beyond doubt. Motum would again surface for some timely contributions, but his side still trailed by 14 heading into the last period. The home side did not budge despite Efes doing everything within their power to mount a comeback, eventually falling short 90-79 [video highlights]
Rio Olympian Motum reminded what was he capable off, providing 14 points on 6-13 shooting (1-3 3PT) with 2 rebounds in just 16 minutes. It was his best scoring output across his last 7 EuroLeague games, and his best effort since her scored a season-best 21 points the last time he went up against Panathinaikos back on 16 November, a game in which his side lost by a solitary point. Efes remains entrenched in last place in the standings with a 4-12 record.
A 21-10 third term by Real Madrid consigned Maccabi Tel Aviv to a 93-81 road loss to Spanish giants Real Madrid. It was raining three's for the hosts in the second half, and unfortunately for Tel Aviv, they were never able to recover despite leading by 2 points at half time. Felipe Reyes was one of five Real Madrid players to score in double figures in registering a team-best 14 points, with rising star Luka Doncic adding 11 points and 4 assists.
Philadelphia 76ers draftee Jonah Bolden was quiet scoring-wise but still found other ways in which to contribute. The versatile 6'10 forward added 3 points (1-4 3PT) with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in playing 26 minutes. Tel Aviv were paced by Pierre Jackson's 29 points whose shooting performance was not enough to help get Tel Aviv over the line [video highlights].
In the midst of a lean patch, Tel Aviv are now on the cusp of falling outside of the top 8 after being reduced to an 8-8 overall record, just 1 win ahead of three teams looking to steal their place.