No respite from pain for Maccabi Tel Aviv

Yellow-and-blue tumbles to 1-4 in Euroleague with ugly home loss to Darussafaka in Even’s first game.

November 13, 2015 05:46
3 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sylven Landesberg (center) couldn’t help the team avoid another Euroleague

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sylven Landesberg (center) couldn’t help the team avoid another Euroleague defeat last night, with Darussafaka Istanbul winning 84-73 at Yad Eliyahu Arena in the first game in charge for interim coach Avi Even (inset).. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Any illusion that coach Guy Goodes was Maccabi Tel Aviv’s biggest problem was dashed with another painful defeat on Thursday night.

Maccabi is in serious jeopardy of failing to qualify for the Euroleague Top 16 for the first time in club history after dropping to an 84-73 defeat to Darussafaka Istanbul at Yad Eliyahu Arena and falling to a 1-4 record.

Goodes was sacked on Monday following a humbling BSL defeat to Maccabi Ashdod, which came on the back of a road loss in Germany to Brose Baskets Bamberg that saw the yellow-and-blue fall to 1-3 in the Euroleague regular season for the first time in 17 years.

Avi Even, Goodes’s assistant coach who worked as a scout until last season, took charge on an interim basis, but Maccabi looked like a team in need of a magician on Thursday night.

Darussafaka, which also entered the game with a 1-3 record, dominated the second half on the way to a victory which seriously complicates Maccabi’s quest for top-four finish in Group D and progress to the next round.

Taylor Rochestie had 17 points for Maccabi, with Devin Smith scoring 14.

Manuchar Markoishvili had 22 points for the Turks. Darussafaka hit 25-of-32 attempts (75 percent) from two-point range.

As if matters weren’t bad enough, Maccabi hosts Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow next week, by which time it will at least hope to have a new coach.

With Israel national team coach Erez Edelstein turning down an approach from Maccabi, the yellow-and-blue is focusing on bringing in a foreigner. Zan Tabak, who currently coaches Fuenlabrada in Spain, Iran coach Dirk Bauermann of Germany, Bosnia coach Dusko Ivanovic, Lithuania coach Jonas Kazlauskas and Italy coach Simone Pianigiani have all been mentioned in connection with the vacancy.

Maccabi opened the game with plenty of excitement, but its meek defense under the basket was quickly exposed.

Turkish center Semih Erden, who averaged 6.8 points in his team’s first four Euroleague games, scoring more than four points only once, was doing as he pleased in the paint, hitting his first six shots to give the visitors an early fivepoint margin (15-10).

Even sent in center Vitor Faverani in the hope he would help close the paint, giving the Brazilian a renewed opportunity after he was already told to look for a new club. Goodes was unhappy with the fitness and form of Faverani and he played no part in Maccabi’s past three continental contests.

Being the one responsible for bringing the former Boston Celtics center to the team, Even had more than one reason to hope he would finally make his mark.

However, he would end the night with four points and one rebound in six minutes and had it not been for the triples by Taylor Rochestie and Jordan Farmar Maccabi would have found itself trailing after 10 minutes (20-20).

Maccabi finally managed to score some easy points towards the end of the second quarter and Farmar’s layup gave the yellow-and-blue a five-point lead (35-30). However, that would prove to be Tel Aviv’s biggest lead of the night, with Darussafaka trailing by just two points (39-37) at the break.

The Turks seized control of proceedings at the start of the second half, with Manuchar Markoishvili’s basket capping a 15-3 surge which gave the visitors a seven-point gap (57-50). Darussafaka still led by seven points (60-53) entering the final 10 minutes and Maccabi was in desperate need of a superb last quarter. However, matters would only go from bad to worse for Tel Aviv, with the Turks scoring the first eight points of the period to open a record 15-point margin (68-53).

Maccabi managed to close within eight points, but it never really came close to mustering a comeback, capitulating without a real fight against an opponent it would once never imagine it could lose to.

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