Maccabi Tel Aviv may long live to regret Tuesday night’s 80-72 defeat at Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul in Game 1 of the Euroleague quarterfinals after squandering a golden opportunity to snatch home-court advantage in the best-of-five series.
Maccabi led throughout the first half and by as many as 11 points (54-43) midway through the third quarter. However, the defending champion couldn’t continue the momentum, being outscored 29-9 over the next 12 minutes and dropping to a dejecting defeat.
Maccabi can’t afford to take long to recover, with Game 2 of the series to already be played in Istanbul on Thursday. Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) will take place in Tel Aviv next week on April 20 and 22, with a decisive Game 5 to be held in Turkey on April 28, should it be required.
Jeremy Pargo was excellent for Maccabi with 25 points and eight rebounds, but star forward Devin Smith experienced an off night, finishing with 10 points for the yellow-and-blue, which committed 14 turnovers and allowed 17 offensive rebounds.