Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Holon in BSL action on Sunday night, less than 48 hours after suffering its second straight Euroleague defeat.

The yellow-and-blue began its continental campaign with five consecutive wins, but it fell to 5- 2 on the season and dropped to second place in Group B on Friday night after losing 89-87 at Montepaschi Siena.

The Italians had a three-point edge (44-41) at halftime, but Maccabi took a six-point lead (65-59) into the fourth frame.

There was nothing to separate the teams entering the closing stages, but Siena would dominate the final two minutes, scoring five straight points at a crucial stage to clinch the win.

Maccabi can at least draw some encouragement from Shawn James’s excellent display, with the American center recording the top performance of the week in the Euroleague, scoring 22 points on a perfect shooting night (9-of-9 from the field) and grabbing 12 rebounds for an index rating of 39, the second best all season.

Maccabi now sits in second place in its group behind Unicaja Malaga, which improved to 6- 1 on Thursday with a 63-48 win over Prokom Gdynia.

“Our consolation is that we managed to lose by just two points and that could be important,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt. “We will likely need to win our final three games and for Malaga to lose at Siena, which is a very realistic scenario, to finish the group in first.”

Tel Aviv still leads the local league standings entering Sunday’s action, holding a 5-1 record.

Holon fell to 3-3 last week after losing 76-68 at home to Hapoel Jerusalem.

Ironi Ashkelon threatened on Saturday not to show up for its game at Hapoel Jerusalem on Sunday due to the disruption last week’s rocket fire from Gaza caused to its preparations.

Maccabi Ashdod’s game against Maccabi Haifa was postponed to Wednesday for that exact reason, enraging Ashkelon’s management, which demanded the same treatment.

The BSL said that Ashdod only had its encounter put off as it is hosting the game and was unable to train in its arena until Saturday.

On Monday, Barak Netanya welcomes Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and Maccabi Rishon Lezion visits Bnei Herzliya.

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