Preview: Pivotal Euroleague challenge for Mac Ta in Madrid

January 13, 2017 01:04
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Sylven Landesberg scored five late points to ensure his team edged Ironi N

Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Sylven Landesberg scored five late points to ensure his team edged Ironi Ness Ziona 75-73 in last night’s State Cup quarterfinal.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

With the blows continuing to come both on and off the floor, Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Real Madrid on Friday night hoping for a momentum-shifting victory in the Euroleague.

Maccabi snapped a six-game losing streak in the competition and improved to a 6-10 record by edging Darussafaka 93-92 last Thursday.

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But any illusion that all was suddenly well with the yellow and- blue was dashed just four days later with a humbling BSL loss at Hapoel Eilat.

Madrid beat Maccabi 89-82 in Tel Aviv earlier in the season in what was coach Erez Edelstein’s last Euroleague game before he was replaced by Rami Hadar.

Hadar lasted just two months and Latvian Ainars Bagatskis was appointed after assistant Lior Lubin guided the team in two Euroleague contests.

Real sits in second place in the standings with an 11-5 record, owning a 7-1 record at home after beating leader CSKA Moscow 95-85 in the Spanish capital last week.

Bagatskis began working as Maccabi’s head coach less than three weeks ago, but his patience is already running thin as his frustration with the players seemingly continues to grow with every passing game.

After calling out his players as cheaters and claiming some of them only care about their statistics following a win over Ironi Ness Ziona in the quarterfinals of the State Cup last week, Bagatskis admitted in Eilat that he “can’t find the right words to touch the players.”

The Latvian said the players aren’t working as a team.

“The players listen to the words and they want to win.

But in some moments we want to win in separate ways and don’t want to be together.

We always have excuses, but I think that in professional sports there are no excuses,” he noted. “If we continue like this none of us will be able to find high level teams for next season.”

Captain Guy Pnini blamed some of his teammates for showing a lack of respect to local competitions with their preparation for games.

“I don’t think that if we were playing in the Euroleague tonight we would play like this and that is unacceptable,” he said following the loss in Eilat.

“Every player needs to look himself in the mirror. We are capable of beating any team in Europe, but we can also lose to any team in Europe and it shouldn’t be that way.”

As if the rift in the roster between Israeli and American players wasn’t bad enough, the magnitude of the split in the club’s management was revealed on Thursday when it was announced that CEO Hagay Badash had resigned.

Badash was brought in just four months ago in order to revolutionize the running of the club. However, he felt he wasn’t given the authority he expected in order to make a real change and chose to leave his position as CEO, although he will remain part of the club’s directorate.

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