Local Hoops: Now 1-4, Maccabi must right ship soon

Tel Aviv loses fourth straight preseason game, falling 85-67 to Fenerbahce/Ulker in the Ljubljana tournament.

September 28, 2008 07:14
1 minute read.
maccabi tel aviv derrick sharp 298.88

maccabi derrick sharp. (photo credit: AP)


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Maccabi Tel Aviv lost its fourth straight preseason game on Saturday, falling 85-67 to Fenerbahce/Ulker in the Ljubljana tournament. On Friday, Maccabi was beaten 80-79 by Panathinaikos in its first game of the tournament and, after also losing to the Greeks and CSKA Moscow last week, new coach Effi Birenboim is desperate to finally claim a first significant preseason victory. His side next faces the hosts Olimpija Ljubljana in its final game of the event on Sunday and a win would really help boost the players' morale, if nothing else. Against Fenerbahce/Ulker, the yellow-and-blue trailed for almost the entire encounter and fell apart in the second half With the Euroleague season less than a month away, inconsistent play is a worrying trend that the squad seems to be setting for itself, and something must be done soon to avoid another disastrous season, both locally and abroad. Maccabi led 12-8 midway through the first period, but the Turks soon seized control and after taking a 19-17 advantage into the second quarter, quickly pulled ahead. Tel Aviv was only down six points at the break (36-30) after scoring the final six points of the first half, but Fenerbahce/Ulker, which was led by Devin Smith (19 points), reopened its big margin before too long and embarrassed Maccabi in the final 10 minutes of the period. Jason Williams led Tel Aviv, scoring 16 points, with Chester Simmons adding 13 points. Carlos Arroyo scored just four points in his worst performance of the preseason. On Friday, the Puerto Rican led the side with 18 points and helped the team keep pace with Panathinaikos throughout the game. Two Omri Casspi free throws gave Tel Aviv a 79-78 lead with half-a-minute to play, but the Greeks top-scorer Vassilis Spanoulis (15 points) scored the final basket of the night and Maccabi lost yet again.

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