Ricky Hickman Maccabi370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv suffered its heaviest Euroleague defeat in 22 years on
Wednesday night when it was humbled 79-53 by Real Madrid in Game 1 of the
quarterfinals in Spain.
The yellow-and-blue got the game off to an ideal
start, opening a nine-point lead (23-14) after the first quarter. However,
Maccabi completely lost its way in the second period, being outscored
Tel Aviv never looked capable of fighting back in the second half,
giving coach David Blatt plenty to mull over in the short time he has before
Friday’s Game 2.
Games 3 and 4, if necessary, will take place in Tel Aviv
next week, with a decisive Game 5, should it be required, to be played in
Wednesday’s defeat was the biggest Maccabi suffered in the
Euroleague since being thrashed 101-67 by Barcelona in the Final Four semifinal
in Paris in 1991.
Real and Maccabi are among the Euroleague’s top scoring
teams, both averaging almost 80 points per game entering
However, while Madrid proved why it is one of the league’s
best offensive sides, Tel Aviv embarrassed itself after the first quarter and
will have to register a significant improvement on Friday if it’s to steal
home-court advantage ahead of the return to Israel.
Maccabi didn’t even
have a single player in double figures on Wednesday, with Ricky Hickman and
Shawn James leading the team with nine points each. Tel Aviv hit just 34 percent
(19 of 56) of its field goal attempts and was out-rebounded 44-28.
Fernandez led Madrid with 15 points, with Nikola Mirotic scoring 14 for the
hosts, who connected on 50 percent of their shots from three-point range (11 of
22) and grabbed 17 offensive boards.
Real scored the first five points of
the night within 30 seconds, but Maccabi scored the next eight points, with Nik
Caner-Medley’s turnaround jumper opening a three-point lead
Caner-Medley continued his recent improvement and with his eighth
point of the quarter gave Maccabi a six-point gap (20-14). A Ricky Hickman
three-pointer to beat the buzzer took the margin to nine points (23-14) and
Maccabi was ahead by double digits (26-14) after Sylven Landesberg scored from beyond the arc to start the second quarter.
Maccabi seemed to be
firing on all cylinders, but it wasn’t long before it completely lost its range,
allowing Madrid to seize control of the contest.
It took Tel Aviv
six-and-a-half minutes to score another point and Real punished the Israelis
from three-point range time and again.
A Rudy Fernandez three capped a
13-0 run to put the hosts back in front (27-26) and another triple by Jaycee
Carroll to end the first half gave Real a 38-27 margin, with the Spaniards
outscoring Maccabi 24-4 in the second quarter.
Tel Aviv closed far bigger
deficits than 11 points in the past, but it looked like a beaten team in the
second half, with Madrid taking a 16- point margin (59-43) into the final 10
minutes and rendering the fourth frame as no more than garbage time.