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EuroView: Motum wins Turkish Cup, Bolden and Maccabi mired in controversy
It was a massive week of European hoops, with Brock Motum picking up a Turkish Cup, Ben Madgen falling short of earning the equivalent in Lithuania, while Jonah Bolden and Maccabi Tel Aviv were embroiled in controversy in the Israeli Cup.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul won their 11th Turkish Cup after defeated Lithuanian league leader Tofas 78-61 in the final. They reached the Cup final after dispatching Fenerbahçe Istanbul in the quarter-finals and then Darüşşafaka 90-76 in their semi-final.
Playing at home, Efes took control from the outset and from there never trailed, leading 26-17 at quarter time, and still ahead by 8 at the main break. They put the result beyond a doubt with a commanding 22-15 third term, holding off every challenge en route holding aloft the Turkish Cup.
Errick McCollum was the star for Efes, landing a game-high 23 points, while receiving great support from Krunoslav Simon's 19 points. Brock Motum played an integral role, scoring 10 points on 4-9 shooting with 6 rebounds in 27 minutes. Only Antonio Crocker provided any real resistance, adding 11 points for the runner-up Tofas.
Ben Madgen's Lietuvos Rytas progressed to the final of the Karaliaus Mindaugas Cup in Lithuania after accounting for Dzūkija 61-81. Rytas took control from the start, opening up a 21-9 first quarter lead and from there were never seriously threatened. Loukas Mavrokefalidis led the charge with a a game-high 19 points for the winners, while Madgen played added 11 points on 3-7 three-pointers alongside 5 rebounds and 7 assists in a strong performance [video highlights].
In the final, Rytas were matched against long-time rivals Zalgiris Kaunas. The first half was close and uncompromising, with neither team willing to give anything away. Rytas had the better of the second term however, managing to eke out a 2 point lead at the main break. Zalgiris came out after half time on fire, outscoring their rivals 27-18. they would go on to finish their good work in the final period, running away with an 81-62 win to clinch the Karaliaus Mindaugas Cup [video highlights].
Edgaras Ulanovas did most of the damage for Zalgiris, delivering a game-high 21 points. For Rytas, only Christopher Kramer scored in double figures in adding 16 points. Madgen was again solid in providing 8 points (3-6 FG), 4 rebounds and 3 steals in a losing effort.
In Israel, Maccabi Tel Aviv advanced to the Israeli Cup championship game following a thrilling 76-73 win over Maccabi Ashdod and a chance to clinch their ninth straight cup. It was a close and hard-fought contest, with Maccabi earning an early lead before it was quickly reigned in by Ashdod. Neither team was able to break free. Ashdod found themselves up by 8 points early in the final quarter, but Maccabi fought back. Pierre Jackson came up with the big plays, ensuring Maccabi would prevail by just 3 points [video highlights].
The final saw Maccabi take on Hapoel Holon in a game marred by controversy.
Glen Rice Jr starred for Holon, leading them to a narrow 86-84 win in what proved to be a spiteful game. He delivered a game-high 28 points alongside 8 rebounds and 7 assists, but 20 of his points came from the line, drawing the ire of Maccabi fans, staff and players, who felt the officials were overly helpful to their opponents [video highlights].
The outcome resulted in a host of Maccabi players and staff venting their frustration with the officials following the game in stunning fashion. Many of the players taking to social media to express their disgust, and amazingly, with sanctions expected to follow over the coming week.
Maccabi's Croatian head coach, Neven Spahija has also been lambasted by critics for dropping Australian Jonah Bolden for the final. In a game where forward Rice Jr dominated, with Maccabi struggling to contain him, Bolden's length, athleticism and rim protection was desperately missed. Bolden has been one of the rising stars in the EuroLeague, and a consistent starter throughout the season. His demotion for the cup final was a puzzling decision and one that may well have cost Maccabi their ninth straight title.
Bolden was however immediately added back into the 12-man side in their next game back in the Winner League, and in fact their starting 5. He would go onto deliver 13 points in 18 minutes as his side would register a solid 92-86 win over Maccabi Ashdod [video highlights].