Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Norris Cole.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague campaign ended with a fifth consecutive loss on Friday night, with the yellowand- blue falling 87-84 at Valencia.
It was just one month ago that Maccabi seemed primed to return to the postseason after a two-year absence, beating Efes Istanbul in Turkey to improve to a 13-12 record with five regular season games to play.
However, it lost any chance of advancing after dropping to a defeat at Baskonia Vitoria in its previous game and suffered its seventh defeat from the past eight continental games in Valencia.
Norris Cole had 22 points and five assists for Maccabi, which has lost 10 of its past 13 contests over all competitions. Bojan Dubljevic led five Valencia players in double figures with 15 points.
“We don’t have 12 Euroleague players. We spent most of our time traveling or playing and had no time for practice which really hurt us,” explained Maccabi coach Neven Spahija. “Our goal was to reach the playoffs, but I can’t say that we are better than any of the teams that made it.”
Maccabi hopes to finally get back on track when it hosts Maccabi Haifa in BSL action on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Hapoel Jerusalem (14-8) aims to equal its season-best four-game BSL winning streak when it hosts Bnei Herzliya (8-14).
Elsewhere, Maccabi Ashdod (13-9) welcomes Ironi Ness Ziona (9-13).
On Monday, Ironi Nahariya (7-15), which has lost six straight games, makes the long trip to Hapoel Eilat (11- 11), which has won five of its past six contests. Leader Hapoel Holon (17-5) hosts Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (10-12), while Hapoel Tel Aviv (11-11) looks to build on its win over Maccabi in the derby when it faces Maccabi Rishon Lezion (9-13).