Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Pierre Jackson playing against the Olympiacos. .
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague road drought entered its third month on Tuesday night, with Olympiacos becoming the latest team to outplay the visiting yellow- and-blue.
Since defeating Khimki Moscow in Russia on November 16, Maccabi has lost five straight continental games away from home, all by double digits. After falling at Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos and Real Madrid by an average 15.5 points per contest, Tel Aviv was humbled 94-64 in Athens, suffering its heaviest defeat of the campaign.
With seven of its final 11 regular season games to come on the road, the yellow-and-blue will have to quickly find a way to win away from Yad Eliyahu Arena, or it will be able to forget about returning to the playoffs.
Before beginning that stretch with next Friday’s visit to Olympia Milano, Maccabi will first turn its complete focus to Thursday’s game against Red Star Belgrade at Yad Eliyahu.
Maccabi fell to 9-9 with Tuesday’s loss, dropping to eighth place in the standings after Khimki Moscow (10-8) defeated Red Star 79-70.
Belgrade remains two games behind Tel Aviv, but Baskonia Vitoria can move tied with Maccabi with a victory at Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Pierre Jackson led Tel Aviv with 13 points in Greece, with Alex Tyus the team’s only other player to reach double figures, scoring 10.
Perhaps the only positive Maccabi can draw from the game is the return of Norris Cole from injury.
The guard played 20 minutes after missing the two previous Euroleague contests. Deshaun Thomas also continued his comeback, playing a team-high 24 minutes, with coach Neven Spahija already beginning to rest players in the final quarter ahead of the game against Red Star.
Vassilis Spanoulis led four Olympiacos players in double- digits with 13 points, while also registering seven assists.
Olympiacos improved to 13-5, climbing up to second place with its eighth win from nine games at the Peace and Friendship Arena.
After the teams traded the lead for the first seven minutes of the encounter, Olympiacos scored eight of the final nine points of the opening quarter to establish an eight-point gap (24-16).
Maccabi managed to score 24 points against the Euroleague’s best defensive team in the second period, closing to within six points at one stage.
But the yellow-and-blue would allow 29 points in the frame, putting the Greeks in complete control at the break with a 13-point cushion (53-40).
Olympiacos managed to score 53 points in the first half despite hitting only 1-of-11 shots from three-point range, connecting on 16-of-26 two-point shots.
Once the Greeks began to sink their shots from beyond the arc in the third quarter the game was as good as over.
Olympiacos scored three of four attempts from three and Maccabi already began turning its focus to Thursday’s game when Hollis Thompson gave the Greeks a 20-point margin (66- 46), effectively securing the win with three minutes still to play in the third frame.