Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Victor Rudd (right) was the team’s top scorer with 17 points in last night’s 81-61 home loss to Panathinaikos in the final game of the Euroleague regular season.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Maccabi Tel Aviv can finally file away its 2017/18 Euroleague campaign, with the regular season coming to a close with an appropriately humbling 81-61 defeat against Panathinaikos at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Thursday.
A season which promised so much last summer, with the club assembling the most expensive roster in its history, disintegrated before it almost began.
Head coach Erez Edelstein was sacked after two defeats to begin the campaign, with his assistant Rami Hadar taking charge for 10 continental games before handing in his resignation. Lior Lubin, who began the season as the second assistant, guided the team in two Euroleague encounters before Ainars Bagatskis was brought aboard.
Maccabi still harbored some hope of finishing in the top eight and reaching the playoffs when the Latvian joined in late December. But seven defeats in his first 10 games ended any realistic chance the team had of advancing to the post-season, rendering the final month of the regular season as meaningless.
Maccabi fell to 10-20 with Thursday’s defeat, finishing the season in 14th place out of 16 teams. The 20-point defeat to Panathinaikos, its ninth home loss from 15 games, was its heaviest at Yad Eliyahu this season.
But it was just the latest in a long list of lows in Maccabi’s campaign, including a 102-63 humiliation at Galatasaray, its third heaviest defeat in club history and the biggest since 1976.
Maccabi also suffered six straight defeats at one stage, its longest-ever in the competition.
Maccabi looked like it may actually end the season on a sweet note after taking a 42-32 lead into the break on Thursday. But it capitulated in what has become characteristic fashion, being outscored 49-19 in the second half.
Victor Rudd finished with 17 points for Maccabi, which hosts Hapoel Eilat in the BSL on Sunday.
Maccabi, which has lost five straight games over all competitions, needs a win over Eilat to return to first place in the BSL after Hapoel Holon beat Bnei Herzliya 79-75 on Thursday.
Jordan Taylor had 17 points for Holon, which improved to 18-8, while Maccabi sits at 17-8.