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Jonah Bolden registers first EuroLeague double-double
Jonah Bolden registered his first EuroLeague double-double as Maccabi Tel Aviv won a thriller, while Brock Motum helped lift Anadolu Efes Istanbul to a win over Crvena Zvezda in Round 17 action.
In what proved to be a thrilling encounter, Maccabi Tel Aviv were made to work hard to defend their home court against German side Brose Bamburg. Having well and truly cemented his place in the starting line-up, Jonah Bolden opened Tel Aviv's scoring with a big triple. Neither side was able to get any significant momentum to pull away from the other. Yet it was the visitors who pulled away by 5 points at the first break, yet Tel Aviv quickly reeled it in early in the second. Bolden finished a quick transition late in the first half to the up the scores, but Brose would go into half time leading by 2 points thanks to a pair of free throws made.
The home side opened the second half on a 7-0 run to get the 10,000+ strong crowd into the game. Tel Aviv threatened to put some distance between them and the German champions, yet light a good prize-fighter, Brose responded to close the margin to just 1 at the final change and set up an enthralling final term.
Brose would pull away for a 8 point lead late in the term largely thanks to three triples from former Tel Aviv championship player Ricky Hickman (23 points). Despite the hot-shooting from the visitors, Tel Aviv would mount one final challenge. In a controversial finish that included an unsportsmanlike foul being call against Brose, Maccabi stole back the lead by 1 courtesy of a Pierre Jackson (11 points and 8 assists) three-pointer. Brose missed their chance to steal back the lead themselves, enabling Tel Aviv to hold on for a thrilling 90-88 victory [video highlights].
Michael Roll led six players in scoring double figures for Tel Aviv, adding 23 points. Bolden was again very good in compiling his 10 point and 10 rebound double-double, also tallying 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocked shots. The win by Tel Aviv ensured that they improved their record to 9-8 and into seventh place in the standings.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul earned their second win in three games after accounting for Crvena Zvezda Belgrade 104-95 in a high-scoring contest [video highlights]. It was their fifth win of the season, allowing them to close to within 2 games of their Serbian opponent who this week were sanctioned by the EuroLeague for failing to adhere to league financial requirements.
Brock Motum was prominent in the first term that set the tone for the game, slamming one home before hitting a corner three to help his side to a 22-21 first term lead. Zoran Dragic fired up in the second period that had Efes poised to break open the game, yet Zvezda's Taylor Rochestie also lifted, ensuring there was only 4 points separating either side at the half time break.
Early second half long-range three's by Motum and Errick McCollum (20 points) pushed the margin out to double figures to place all the pressure back onto Zvezda. While Zvezda would never give up, every response was met by another Efes run, with Motum's free throws late in the game sealing their fate.
The Australian Boomer was one of seven players to score in double figures for Efes, adding 12 points (2-3 3PT) with 1 rebound and 1 assist in 23 minutes. Dragic, who had a perfect shooting night, led all scorers with 24 points on 7-7 shooting (3-3 3PT) and 7-7 from the free throw line, alongside 3 rebounds and 4 assists.