Maccabi Tel Aviv great Anthony Parker.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
New Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Erez Edelstein was given plenty to mull over in the team’s final pre-season game on Tuesday night. Maccabi suffered a 90-86 defeat to Turkish Euroleague side Darussafaka at Yad Eliyahu Arena, three days after being beaten by Hapoel Jerusalem in the final of the Winner Cup.
Tuesday’s game was a celebratory occasion, with one of Maccabi’s alltime greats, Anthony Parker, being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame and Blatt returning to Yad Eliyahu as a coach of another team for the first time since leaving for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014.
Parker was honored with a special ceremony ahead of the game, but he wasn’t pleased with the final score after Maccabi dropped to another pre-season defeat.
Maccabi begins its BSL campaign at Ironi Nahariya on Sunday before visiting Olimpia Milano in Italy in its Euroleague opener next Thursday.
Parker played with Maccabi for a total of five seasons, 2000-2002 and 2003-2006. In those five seasons with Maccabi, Parker won five Israeli championships, five Israeli State Cups, and three European titles (2001, 2004, and 2005). In each of his five seasons with the club, Maccabi reached the European Final Four. He was twice selected Euroleague MVP in 2005 and 2006, and was named the MVP of the Euroleague Final Four in 2004.
Parker owns the best career index of all time in the Euroleague with an average of 21.4 index points. He completed his Euroleague career (90 games) with impressive averages of 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.6 steals.
“This feels really good,” said an emotional Parker, who currently works as a scout for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. “I remember 16 years ago Maccabi took a chance on a young skinny kid and I had some big shoes to fill. I’m honored to be sharing this evening with coach Blatt but I don’t wish him good luck tonight. Thanks to Maccabi, this is much more than I expected. I just want to say you guys make this what it is.
“People talk about what I miss. It is nights like this that I miss. Thank you guys I really appreciate it. Yalla Maccabi.”
Elsewhere, Ironi Nahariya took a significant step on Tuesday towards joining BSL champion Maccabi Rishon Lezion in the group stage of the inaugural season of the FIBA Champions League.
Nahariya beat Tsmoki-Minsk of Belarus 70-66 on the road, giving it a small cushion ahead of the second leg in Israel on Thursday.
Tyrone Nash led Nahariya with 15 points and 10 rebounds, with Yancy Gates adding 14 points and eight boards.
Rishon, which stunned Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv on its way to an historic Israeli championship last season, was drawn into Group B with Pinar Karsiyaka of Turkey, Umana Reyer Venezia of Italy, Avtodor Saratov of Russia, Khimik of Ukraine, Le Mans of France and two qualifiers.
The Champions League will involve 48 teams from 31 countries, but none of Europe’s top sides, which will be playing in the Euroleague and Eurocup next season, including Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem.
The regular season, which gets underway on October 18, consists of four groups of eight teams each, with games played home and away in a round robin system. The four best ranked teams from each group will advance to the playoffs. The last 16 and quarterfinals will be played over two legs to be decided on points difference, with the title to be determined in a Final Four tournament at the end of April.