Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems (left) scored a game-high 23 points in last night’s 98-92 win over Sinan Guler and Galatasaray at Yad Eliyahu Arena..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
With two home losses in the Euroleague already to its name and just two wins from its first six games in the competition, Maccabi Tel Aviv enters Tuesday’s showdown with Fenerbahce Istanbul at Yad Eliyahu Arena knowing it can scarcely afford another defeat.
Maccabi is already in danger of losing touch with the top eight in the standings, who will advance to the playoffs after 30 regular season games.
Maccabi still has plenty of time to find its way, but is slowly but surely digging itself into a hole it is going to struggle to overcome, especially considering its poor play so far this season.
Tel Aviv fell to 2-4 with last Wednesday’s overtime loss at Panathinaikos and dropped to its first BSL defeat of the season at Bnei Herzliya on Saturday.
Fenerbahce, guided by the legendary Zeljko Obradovic, remains one of the favorites to reach the Final Four at the end of the season despite losing its last two Euroleague games to Unics Kazan and Baskonia Vitoria. Fenerbahce began the campaign with four straight wins.
Maccabi will leave for Russia almost immediately after the game against the Turks, facing Kazan on Thursday.
The yellow-and-blue also has another tough road game to contend with against Olympiacos next week.
Three more defeats and Maccabi can likely kiss goodbye any chance of reaching the playoffs, even with less than third of the regular season gone by.
One of Maccabi’s biggest problems has been a lack of contribution from the bench, with Gal Mekel, Guy Pnini, Victor Rudd and Joe Alexander combining to average 6.9 points per game.
“Obviously we are angry and everyone is going to go home and feel terrible, but at the end of the day it is one game and it doesn’t define us as a team,” said Alexander following the defeat to Herzliya.
“What should define us as a team is consistent growth so if we look at this as a learning experience and go home and grow from it than we have a chance to beat everybody and that is what we are going to do.”