Mac TA searching for answers after setback in Spain

After opening the season with two road defeats, one in the BSL, one in the Euroleague, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be hoping to get its campaign up.

October 20, 2013 02:22
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt.

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt 370. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

After opening the season with two road defeats, one in the BSL and one in the Euroleague, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be hoping to get its campaign up and running when its hosts Maccabi Haifa at Nokia Arena on Monday evening in a repeat of last season’s championship decider.

Three days later, Maccabi will welcome Red Star Belgrade to Tel Aviv in its first Euroleague home game of 2013/14 and the yellow-and-blue will be targeting two confidence-boosting victories after a frustrating first week to the season.

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The 83-73 BSL loss to Hapoel Holon after being outscored 22-8 in the fourth period was followed by a dismal first half in Spain on Thursday, with Maccabi entering the break down by 10 points (48-38).

Tel Aviv fought back to seize the initiative, leading by four points (75-71) with four minutes to play. However, a 9-2 run by the hosts in the final 2:50 minutes of the contest secured Vitoria an 84-80 win and left Maccabi coach David Blatt to lament what might have been.

“I wasn’t surprised by how well Vitoria played in the first half. I was surprised by how badly we played,” said Blatt, who will surely still draw encouragement from the form of Ricky Hickman (20 points) and Joe Ingles (14 points).

“We were ready to stop them but we failed to do so.

We are very disappointed because we had a chance to win. On the other hand, there were some good aspects that we can build on.”

Haifa, which stunned Maccabi in the BSL final last season, will be playing its first league game of 2013/14 on Monday after last week’s scheduled encounter against Barak Netanya was postponed due to Haifa’s US tour in which it was thrashed in its three games against the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Greens also lost 75-67 to Unics Kazan in their Eurocup opener last Wednesday, but Danny Franco’s side showed plenty of promise against the Russian powerhouse and will be looking to make a statement at Nokia Arena.

Hapoel Jerusalem bounced back from last week’s shock BSL loss to Maccabi Ashdod at Malha Arena with a hardfought 84-76 victory over Lukoil Academic Sofia in its Eurocup opener.

Jerusalem visits Bnei Herzliya on Sunday, with the latter still reeling from Jonathan Skjoldebrand’s three-pointer with two seconds to play that gave Hapoel Tel Aviv a dramatic 76-75 win over the Sharon side last week.

Ashdod will aim to build on last week’s upset when it hosts Netanya on Sunday.

Holon will hope it doesn’t suffer a painful return to earth following the victory over Maccabi when it welcomes Ironi Ness Ziona.

Also Sunday, Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Eilat and Maccabi Rishon Lezion hosts Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.

On TV: Bnei Herzliya vs Hapoel Jerusalem (live on Sport5 at 8:30 p.m.)

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