Maccabi TA blown out at home by CSKA

Disheartening 20-point loss to group leader puts yellow-and-blue in precarious situation

March 2, 2018 03:57
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Norris Cole (with ball) couldn’t find a way through CSKA Moscow’s defense

Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Norris Cole (with ball) couldn’t find a way through CSKA Moscow’s defense last night, with the yellow-and-blue being outplayed by its old rival in a 93-73 defeat in Euroleague action at Yad Eliyahu Arena.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

CSKA Moscow handed Maccabi Tel Aviv a painful reminder of how far it still has to go to compete with the Euroleague’s very best on Thursday night, while also complicating the yellow-and-blue’s path back to the quarterfinal playoffs.

Improving its Euroleague-best record to 19-5, CSKA coasted to a comprehensive 93-73 victory at Yad Eliyahu Arena. Tel Aviv scored the first two points of the night, but wouldn’t lead again, with CSKA outscoring the hosts 30-18 in the second period to open a 16-point gap (52-36) the yellow-and-blue never came close to erasing.

With four of its final six Euroleague regular season games coming on the road, Maccabi could have really used another home victory on Thursday night. After beating Real Madrid and reigning champion Fenerbahce in Tel Aviv, Maccabi was hopeful of stunning CSKA.

The hosts trailed by just four points (22- 18) after 10 minutes, but Moscow moved up a gear in the second quarter and Tel Aviv couldn’t respond.

Norris Cole scored 13 points for Maccabi, which lost to CSKA for the 11th time in their last 12 meetings dating back to the 2009/10 season, which was also the last time the yellow-and-blue defeated its old rival in Tel Aviv.

Maccabi shot just 5-of-23 from threepoint range, committing 14 turnovers while finishing with its lowest point total in a home game since the 92-72 setback against Efes Istanbul.

Maccabi had impressed at Yad Eliyahu over recent months, winning its previous three home games and six of its last seven. But CSKA never really gave it any hope, with Nando De Colo leading the winners with 19 points.

Maccabi fell to 12-12, dropping to a .500 record for the first time in almost two months. Tel Aviv continues to cling on to a place in the top eight in the standings, but will need to start to win on the road on a more regular basis to ensure it qualifies for the playoffs.

Not only has Maccabi struggled to win away from Yad Eliyahu this season, it has had a real difficulty even keeping the games close.

Tel Aviv dropped to 3-8 on the road this season with last week’s loss at Unicaja Malaga, with its only away victory over the past three months coming at the slumping Olimpia Milano. In its other road contests since the triumph at Khimki Moscow on November 16, Maccabi has lost by an average 17.3 points, falling by at least 12 points in each game.

The yellow-and-blue still has to visit Istanbul twice, including to Efes Istanbul next Thursday and also to Fenerbahce, as well as travel to Spain for its final two games at Baskonia Vitoria and Valencia.

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