Bruised yellow-and-blue looks ahead after Real blow

Jaycee Carroll led Real with 18 points in 16 minutes.

March 29, 2015 00:45
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Sofoklis Schortsanitis

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Sofoklis Schortsanitis. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Maccabi Tel Aviv is in danger of missing out completely on the Euroleague quarterfinals after officially losing all hope of finishing among the top two in Top 16 Group E following Friday night’s 86-75 defeat at Real Madrid, falling to 7-5 with its fourth defeat from the past six continental games.

The yellow-and-blue trailed from start to finish against the group leader, which improved to 10-2, and will need to win its final two Top-16 encounters to secure its progress to the last eight without requiring any favors from its rivals.

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Maccabi hosts Galatasaray of Turkey at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Thursday before completing its group games at Alba Berlin next week. With Real and Barcelona already wrapping up first and second places in the group, Tel Aviv will battle Panathinaikos (7-5) and Alba (6-6) for the two additional quarterfinal berths. Maccabi can already guarantee its qualification should it beat the Turks and Panathinaikos defeat Berlin in Greece.

However, should Alba win in Athens or Maccabi lose to Galatasaray, the Israeli champion will be knocked out if it were also to fall to Berlin in Germany, assuming Panathinaikos overcomes Red Star Belgrade as expected.

Madrid opened a 14-point gap (27-13) by the end of the first quarter on Friday, but Maccabi trailed by just six points (46-40) at the break, giving Guy Goodes’s team real hope of recording an upset.

However, the hosts quickly reestablished a double-digit margin at the start of the second half and Tel Aviv never came close to mounting a comeback.

Brian Randle finished with 17 points and seven rebounds for Maccabi, with Jeremy Pargo adding 14 points and seven assists.

Jaycee Carroll led Real with 18 points in 16 minutes.

“Galatasaray is a do-or-die game for us and we will be ready,” said Goodes. “The game against Real was decided in the first and third quarters in which we scored 13 and 14 points, respectively. We weren’t composed and committed a lot of turnovers.

“It was hard for us to stop their offense early in the game. We trailed all the way,” added Goodes.

“We tried to change our defense but Real Madrid is one of the strongest teams in Europe, if not the strongest.”

Pargo was confident Maccabi will bounce back.

“We beat Real before and felt we could do so again, but we didn’t make the most of our chances,” said the American guard. “I’m certain the coaches will prepare a good game-plan for us and we will finish the Top 16 the way we should.”

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