Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Jeremy Pargo goes up for a layup.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
After suffering three humbling defeats in succession over a nightmarish eight days, Maccabi Tel Aviv looks to get back on track when it visits Unicaja Malaga on Thursday night.
The reigning Euroleague champion has completely lost its way since the start of last week and will be playing for its pride just as much as anything else in Malaga.
The 78-58 capitulation in its home arena against arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv on Monday put coach Guy Goodes on the hot seat and the tricky trip to Malaga has come at the worst possible time for the yellow-and-blue.
Despite a far from impressive start to the season, Maccabi seemed to be heading in the right direction after opening the BSL with four straight wins and easily topping Alba Berlin on the road two weeks ago to improve to 2-1 in the Euroleague.
However, Maccabi’s vulnerabilities have since being exposed for all to see time and again, with the yellow-andblue’s roster embarrassingly crumbling under the pressure against significantly less talented teams.
After dropping to its most lopsided loss in local action to Hapoel Jerusalem (93-63), Maccabi fell to 2-2 in the Euroleague following a stunning 83-73 defeat in Tel Aviv to the previously winless Cedevita Zagreb last Thursday.
Maccabi also lost captain Guy Pnini to a season-ending Achilles injury earlier this week, , but Goodes believes his team can rebound against the 3-1 Malaga.
The Spaniards won three straight Euroleague games before losing 95-85 at CSKA Moscow last week. Malaga also lost its first Spanish league game of the season on Sunday, falling to 5-1 following an 82-74 defeat to Joventut Badalona.
Nevertheless, there is little doubt Unicaja is entering Thursday’s showdown as a firm favorite.
“We are in a difficult mental situation after suffering three tough defeats,” said Goodes. “This will be a test of our character.
Everyone will need to give extra in this game.”