Maccabi Tel Aviv’s game was rather poor in the first half of the season – while the attack did its job, there were problems in the defense. However, in the last little less than a month and a half, the defense has been put to work. Source: Srdjan Stevanovic/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s game was rather poor in the first half of the season – while the attack did its job, there were problems in the defense. However, in the last little less than a month and a half, the defense has been put to work. Source: Srdjan Stevanovic/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

What is Maccabi’s winning streak formula?

Basketball OlyBet 12.04.2024

No one currently has a longer winning streak in the Basketball EuroLeague than Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Israeli giants, who have put their opponents on their backs in six games in a row, have gotten into their gear after a three-week break in February, and it’s not just that one specific baller has carried Maccabi from match to match.

First, of course, it must be stressed that the game calendar has favored Maccabi, because, in the last six battles, only clubs that are below them in the table have faced each other. At the same time, it wasn’t just any, but EuroLeague clubs, several of which are fighting to get to the play-in.

Maccabi took a break due to national team and cup games with 13 wins and 13 losses. Reaching 19 wins has lifted them to seventh in the table and it is not out of the question that Oded Kattash’s men will secure direct passage to the quarterfinals as Olympiacos face each other in the last round and Istanbul’s Fenerbahce are just one win away.

At the same time, getting into the top six is not too likely, as both the Greek and Turkish giants are in (very) good shape. Moreover, if Maccabi were to draw level with Olympiacos, Fenerbahce or both, they would be last in the dead round.

But Maccabi, which has gained momentum, has become a club that no one wants to play against in the play-in. Why?

The great trio

If before the season you could have thought that the reins of Maccabi’s carriage were in the hands of Wade Baldwin and Lorenzo Brown, then, in fact,

Baldwin, forward Bonzie Colson and center Josh Nebo have been the driving forces.

Baldwin was already one of the best defenders in the league last season, but this year’s season had a difficult start, as the American got into the game for the first time due to an injury only in the seventh round against Bayern Munich.

However, since the January 10th meeting with Bologna Virtus, Baldwin has been on a wonderful run. In the worst case, he scored 14 points, and in the 30th round against ASVEL of Villeurbanne, he set the EuroLeague season efficiency record when he collected 46 PIR in the game against the French club. In the previous round, Fenerbahce winger Nigel Hayes-Davis reached the same number.

Baldwin March Highlights:

But Baldwin is much, much more than a scoring machine for Maccabi. He is so sharp in attack and demands so much attention that he often must be stopped by several men, but the American is not stingy and when his partner is free, Baldwin passes him the ball.

Although Baldwin has been criticized a lot this season for being moody and selfish, there is not much to do about the former – the baller who played in the NBA is simply an emotional person, but over the years he has become calmer. And as for being selfish, that’s a very valid point too. But isn’t Mike James, Shane Larkin or Keenan Evans at times selfish as well? Sometimes it’s inevitable that a team’s superstars will do what they want.

Nebo is one of the strongest-legged men in the EuroLeague, together with Monaco’s under-the-basket force Donta Hall, because both, when fighting for a rebound and when making an alley-oop pass, they jump to the ceiling with their head only a little bit tilted.

The American’s statistics are impressive. During Maccabi’s winning streak, Nebo has averaged 14.3 points, hitting just 74% of his 2-pointers. He has taken down 8.8 rebounds per match, of which a full 4.2 have come from the offensive board. In the calculation of the last six games, his closest pursuer is the power forward of Panathinaikos of Athens Konstantinos Mitoglu (2.8).

Examples of Nebo’s style against Crvena Zvezda Belgrade:

Nebo is not only a fiery force regarding the basket and table but gives Maccabi a dimension in defense that others can’t do – he is a rim protector, i.e. he secures the three-second zone in defense. True, Nebo is not an absolute elite in this area, Nikola Milutinov, Moustapha Fall and Walter Tavares could fight for this honor.

Colson, who is playing in the EuroLeague for the second season, perfectly glues Maccabi’s back and front lines together. During the winning streak, he has produced 14.3 points per game, shooting 57% from the field and 53% from beyond the arc. He is also a factor regarding the board and is Maccabi’s best individual defender who can cover both the backs and the sides.

Attack, attack, attack

Maccabi already shone on the attack last season, and looking at the summer recruitments, it was clear that the same will continue this season. Per 100 attacks – it’s called ORTG in statistical language – Kattashi’s men score 118.4 points, behind only Fenerbahce (120.1), Real Madrid (119.8) and Istanbul’s Anadolu Efes (119.7).

During the winning streak, the six-time EuroLeague champion – it will be ten years since the last title this spring – has scored an average of 92.5 points. Only Fenerbahce (97.5) has managed more, the third club in the 90-or-more-points club is Efes (91).

In the last six games, Maccabi’s ORTG has risen to 127.3, and the statistics betray that the Israeli giant is primarily focused on two-point shots. Yes, they’re not bad shooters by a long shot, – 36.7 percentage, which is the seventh best – but during the winning streak, they have made a whopping 44.2 two-pointers (the most), of which they have converted 58.9% (6th).

It’s not just that Baldwin, Nebo, and Colson are romping around, Maccabi’s replacements also have players who are very dangerous in and around the three-second zone. For example, the Cuban center Jasiel Rivero, whose defense is as it is, but for example, he has hit almost 60 percent of the two-point shots in the last six matches. Or the American power forward James Webb III, whose two-point percentage is a whopping 77.7.

Looking at offensive numbers, Maccabi is at or very close to the top among several other things. For example, they’ve averaged the most offensive rebounds, the fewest blocks, nearly the fewest turnovers, and nearly the most assists in their last six games.

The defense has gotten a lot better

For the season, Maccabi has allowed an average of 116.9 points per 100 attacks, which is fifth from the back in the DRTG table. However, in the last six games, the same reading is 106.8, which is the second-best in the league.

In those six games, Maccabi has allowed opponents to score 78.5 points, less than Panathinaikos (76.7) and Olympiacos (71.3). A sign of a good defensive game is also the fact that there are a lot of turnovers against Maccabi (14.5) and they make a lot of steals (9.2).

Maccabi’s perimeter defense also deserves a lot of praise. First, it has been very difficult for the opponents to break it, on the other hand, the Israeli club has managed very well to stop long shots.

For example, in the last six games against Maccabi, there were 28.8 three-pointers per game, the best in the league. 32.9% of them have been received, which is the fourth best in the respective ranking. At this point, it cannot be said that Maccabi has played against poorly shooting teams during its winning streak, as, for example, Kaunas Žalgiris is number one in the EuroLeague in three-point shooting percentage.

All things considered; it will be interesting to see how Maccabi fare against Barcelona in the Round of 33. If until now during the winning streak, they have played with clubs from the second half of the table, now they will visit the fourth club in the table. The Spanish team’s defense has indeed been lousy in recent rounds, and that’s certainly music to Maccabi’s ears.

Hopefully, the end of the regular season will give us an answer as to whether Maccabi really got much, much better as the season progressed, or whether the winning streak was put together largely due to a favorable schedule.


This piece of content has been lovingly crafted by the hard-working sports people of OlyBet. Hope you like it!