Red Star Belgrade forward Milko Bjelica dunks over Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Yogev Ohayon (left) during last night’s 83-58 victory in Belgrade..
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
Just when it seemed Maccabi Tel Aviv had hit rock bottom, matters got a whole lot worse on Thursday night.
Maccabi suffered one of its most humbling defeats of recent years on Thursday, losing 83-58 at Red Star Belgrade and leaving little doubt regarding the depth of its crisis.
Maccabi fell to 5-7 in the Euroleague with its third straight loss, being completely outplayed by what is regarded as one of the weaker teams in the competition.
The yellow-and-blue effectively lost the game by the interval, trailing by 18 points (42-24) at halftime and showing little fight in the second half.
Maccabi was hoping the trip to Belgrade would help it get back on course, with the yellow-and-blue losing its previous two Euroleague games at home before being stunned at the buzzer by Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil in BSL action on Monday.
Coach Rami Hadar’s job was on the line entering Thursday and it seems he days are numbered following the embarrassing performance in Belgrade.
Maccabi has little time to solve its many problems, hosting Gilboa once more on Sunday, this time in the State Cup round of 16, before welcoming reigning European champion CSKA Moscow next Wednesday.
Maccabi then visits David Blatt’s Darussafaka in Istanbul three days later.
“I accept that this was one of the most humiliating nights the club has experienced in recent years,” said a downcast Hadar. “We have experienced a mental collapse and it is difficult for me to put my finger on what else has gone wrong. I think our performance was a result of a lack of confidence and a drop in energy. If I knew how to solve this situation I would do so.”
D.J. Seeley had 15 points for Maccabi, which shot 6-of-23 from three-point range and didn’t even attempt a single free-throw while committing 18 turnovers.
Marko Simonovic had 14 points for Belgrade, which improved to 5-7.
There was no early sign to indicate what would unfold, with Maccabi even holding an early lead. Red Star ended the first period with a 10-2 run, but Maccabi had every reason to feel good about its chances even though it trailed by five points (19-14) entering the second quarter.
The game remained tight for the first five minutes of the second period, but Tel Aviv would inexplicably capitulate in the final five minutes of the first half.
Stefan Jovic’s basket capped a 14-2 Red Star surge to finish the half, opening an 18-point gap (42-24) which the visitors never came close to erasing.
In fact, matters only got worse in the second half, with Red Star’s lead crossing 30 points midway through the third quarter before Maccabi slightly reduced the deficit but not the humiliation.