A team picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv's basketball team..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s rocky start to life after David Blatt continued on Sunday when it suffered a humbling 90-77 defeat to Flamengo in the second leg of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in Rio de Janeiro, losing by 10 points on aggregate.
Maccabi brought a threepoint cushion into the game after claiming a 69-66 win in the first leg. However, there was no doubt which team wanted the title more on Sunday, with a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter giving the hosts a 13-point gap they had little trouble maintaining until the final buzzer.
After scoring a game-high 21 points in the first leg, Jeremy Pargo carried Maccabi on his shoulders once more on Sunday, netting 28 points. However, his teammates never really showed up and Maccabi dropped yet another title under new coach Guy Goodes after losing to Hapoel Jerusalem in the final of the pre-season Winner Cup prior to its departure for Brazil.
Life isn’t about to get any easier for Goodes and illustrious assistant coach Pini Gershon, with Maccabi to face Blatt and the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 5 before playing the Brooklyn Nets two days later.
Maccabi entered this year’s edition as a firm favorite against the Liga de las Americas champion, but it was overwhelmed at the Gimnasio Maracanazinho on Sunday.
Maccabi was brimming with confidence after opening the second leg with a 7-0 run. However, Flamengo, which was led by Nicolas Laprovittola’s 24 points, responded with a 13-2 surge and built a double- digit margin (46-36) by the break.
Pargo took his personal tally to 22 points and brought Tel Aviv within a single point (56- 55) midway through the third quarter. But Flamengo’s ruthless start to the final frame killed off the contest and left Goodes with plenty to mull over.