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Maccabi TA falls to Malaga for Euroleague defeat
By ALLON SINAI
11/16/2012
Maccabi Tel Aviv will have to wait at least a week before securing its place in the Top 16 after suffering defeat.
 
Maccabi Tel Aviv will have to wait at least one more week before securing its place in the Top 16 after suffering its first Euroleague defeat of the season on Thursday night, losing 64-62 to Unicaja Malaga at Nokia Arena.

It may or may not be related to the rocket siren that sounded in Tel Aviv three hours before tip-off, but Maccabi players lacked focus and urgency for much of the night and it was no surprise they dropped to the loss after committing six turnovers and scoring just two field goals in the fourth quarter.

Maccabi (5-1) could have clinched its place in the Top 16 with a win, but it will now need to wait for next week’s visit to Montepaschi Siena to do so.

The yellow-and-blue did at least hold on to the tiebreaker over Malaga (5-1) after beating the Spaniards by five points on the road at the start of the season.

Shawn James had 14 points and nine rebounds for Maccabi, with Ricky Hickman scoring 13 and Malcolm Thomas adding 11.

Marcus Williams led Malaga with 12 points.

Tel Aviv held a 21-17 advantage after 10 minutes and Hickman free throws took the margin to seven points (29-22).

However, Malaga came back to take a lead into the break (38- 37) and at no stage in the third quarter were there more than three points separating both teams, with Kosta Perovic’s buzzer-beater tying the score at 49- 49 ahead of the final frame.

Maccabi began the quarter with three turnovers in four possessions, but four straight points by David Logan pulled the sides level once more (59- 59) with 2:28 to play.

Maccabi and Malaga traded the lead in the next two minutes and the visitors had a 64-62 advantage with 23 seconds remaining.

Tel Aviv had two chances to send the game to overtime, but both Devin Smith and Hickman were denied by the Malaga defense and the hosts tasted defeat in the Euroleague for the first time in 2012/13.
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