Maccabi Tel Aviv's hopes of reaching the Euroleague quarterfinals suffered a heartbreaking blow on Thursday night with a 78-77 defeat to Olympiacos at Nokia Arena.
Maccabi (1-4) desperately needed the win after claiming just one of its first four games in Top 16 Group F, but came up just short on Thursday despite a superb second half.
With nine games still to play in the Top 16, Maccabi has theoretically still got plenty of time to make up lost ground. However, considering its mediocre displays over recent weeks and with already two home defeats to its name, it is hard to see how the yellow-and-blue can recover from its disastrous start.
Olympiacos led by as many as 13 points in the first half on Thursday and took a 44-33 lead into the break.
However, the hosts burst out of the gates at the start of the second half, with Yogev Ohayon's basket completing the comeback and giving Maccabi a 56-55 advantage.
Lior Eliyahu's basket to beat the third period buzzer extended Tel Aviv's margin to five points (62-57), but Olympiacos would open the fourth frame with an 11-0 run to move back in front. The game would go back and forth after that, with a Vassilis Spanoulis basket with 52 seconds to go giving the defending European champion a one-point edge (78-77).
Maccabi had its chances to regain the lead, but missed each and every one of them and will likely need a minor miracle to advance to the quarterfinals.
Devin Smith led Maccabi with 17 points, with David Logan scoring 15 and Shawn James contributing 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Spanoulis led Olympiacos (2-3) with 24 points.
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