SHAWN JAMES and Maccabi Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv website)
Maccabi Tel Aviv lost its perfect record in the Adriatic League on Saturday night, falling 81-74 at KK Zagreb for its second defeat in three days after losing just three times in its first 26 games in all competitions this season.
Maccabi entered the game on the back of its biggest defeat since January 1996 after being thrashed 88-64 by Real Madrid in Euroleague action on Thursday.
Life without Jordan Farmar is proving to be even more difficult than expected, with Maccabi trailing by nine points after 10 minutes (28-19) in Zagreb and dropping to a defeat after a tight fourth period, despite holding the lead during the third frame.
Keith Langford and Devin Smith scored 12 points each for Tel Aviv (9- 1), which continued to struggle from beyond the arc, scoring just three of 14 attempts for the second time in three nights.
Krunoslav Simon led KK Zagreb (6-5) with 26 points.
Maccabi looked completely lost against Real on Thursday. Tel Aviv was disjointed and bewildered without Farmar, committing 18 turnovers and passing a miserable five assists, while scoring its lowest total of the Euroleague season, some 13 points below its average in the first seven games of its campaign.
“We played a lot better than in the game against Madrid, but not well enough to win,” Maccabi coach David Blatt said on Saturday.
“I would like to emphasize that these two defeats in Madrid and Zagreb are no disaster. Obviously, it hurts to lose and there are some things we need to improve, but still nothing has happened. These losses haven’t hurt us.
“If we beat Istanbul on Thursday we will finish our Euroleague group in second place, which is a nice achievement in a season like this with all its different problems. In the BSL and Adriatic League we are still in first place and in a great position for the future.”
Maccabi trailed throughout the first half in Madrid, but was still within striking distance at the break (48-40).
However, the yellow-and-blue would come no closer in the second half and has in all likelihood lost the battle for first place in Group C.
Tel Aviv will be looking to snap the losing skid when it visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion in BSL action on Monday ahead of its important Euroleague game against Efes Istanbul on Thursday.
On Sunday, Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil will be hoping to extend their winning streaks in the BSL to five games.
Jerusalem must defeat BC Donetsk by at least 10 points on Tuesday to
stay alive in the Eurocup and it will want to enter that crucial
encounter on the back of another league win from its visit to Hapoel
“We are facing a very tough game against a strong home team,” Hapoel coach Oded Katash said.
“We are facing an important week and we want to open it with a win so that we can calmly prepare for the game against Donetsk.”
Like Jerusalem, Gilboa also began the BSL season with two losses in
three games, but it to has since won four straight and will be favored
to make it five in a row when it hosts Ironi Ashkelon on Sunday.
Also Sunday, Bnei Hasharon hosts Barak Netanya and Maccabi Ashdod visits BC Habika’a.