Maccabi Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague season ended in bitter disappointment on Thursday night in Belgrade.
Maccabi had to defeat Partizan Belgrade in Game 4 of the quarterfinal series to force a decisive encounter in Tel Aviv, but after a tight first three periods was blown away at the start of the fourth quarter and fell to a 76-67 defeat in the game and a 3-1 loss in the series.
After an erratic season, Tel Aviv entered its quarterfinal series against Partizan as a firm favorite, but was always on its back-foot after dropping Game 1 at home and never really came close to winning in the two games in the Serbian capital.
Andrew Wisniewski scored 15 points for Maccabi, with Doron Perkins and D’or Fischer adding 14 points each.
Bo McCalebb led Partizan with 19 points, scoring 11 of them in the fourth period.
Partizan’s opponent in the Final Four will be Olympiacos, which defeated Asseco Prokom of Poland 86-70 on Thursday to complete a 3-1 series win.
Title-favorite Barcelona was the first team to book its ticket to Paris, winning its series against Real Madrid 3-1 after an 84-78 victory in the Spanish capital.
Barca will face CSKA Moscow in the Final Four, with the Russians defeating Caja Laboral Vitoria 74-70 on Thursday to also win their series 3-1.
In Belgrade, Maccabi turned the ball over in its first two possessions, allowing Partizan to open an early lead. However, the visitors came right back and there was little to separate the teams throughout the night.
A Doron Perkins three-pointer gave Tel Aviv a 15-11 lead with 3:30 to play in the first period.
But the hosts scored seven of the final eight points of the quarter, with Bo McCalebb’s basket opening an 18-16 margin after 10 minutes.
D’or Fischer’s 10th point of the night at the start of the second period put Maccabi in the lead once more (22-21) and a Stephane Lasme dunk midway through the frame gave the team a six-point advantage (30-24), its biggest of the half.
However, Tel Aviv could not make the most of its newly found momentum and a 7-0 Belgrade run gave the Serbs the lead.
Partizan still held a slender margin at the break (38-35), but an Eidson three at the beginning of the second half put Maccabi in front yet again (40-39).
The hosts would, however, have the better of the remaining minutes of the third period and slowly extended their margin.
A 9-1 run, capped by an Aleksandar Rasic triple, opened a 54-46 lead with 90 seconds to play in the third period.
But just when it seemed Tel Aviv might be losing touch it somehow
scrapped its way back into the game and Maccabi trailed by just three
points at the end of the period (55-52) after a Wisniewski lay-up.
However, the fourth period would belong to the hosts, with Partizan beginning the quarter with a 12-2 run.
McCalebb finally found his range and his six points and excellent playmaking led Belgrade to a 67-54 gap.
Tel Aviv did its best to close on the Serbs, but Partizan was never
going to be caught and Maccabi’s European season drew to a close.