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Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped to 1-3 in Euroleague Group D last night, with captain Guy Pnini (right) only managing two points in eight minutes in the 77-66 defeat to Brose Baskets Bamberg..(Photo by: ADI AVISHAI)
Matters go from bad to worse for Mac TA
Yellow-and-blue crisis deepens with third defeat in four Euroleague games, losing at Bamberg.
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s disastrous start to its Euroleague campaign continued on Thursday night, with the yellow-and-blue falling to 1-3 in Group D following a 77-66 defeat to Brose Baskets Bamberg in Germany.

Maccabi took a six-point lead (57-51) into the fourth quarter, but completely capitulated in the final 10 minutes, looking totally hapless and being outscored 26-9 by the German champion.

The yellow-and-blue will reach the halfway mark of its regular season campaign when it hosts Darussafaka Istanbul next week and another loss would put its progress to the Top 16 in serious doubt.

Maccabi has never failed to qualify for the Top 16.

Coach Guy Goodes may not even survive until next Thursday’s contest, with only discord in the club’s ownership saving him from already being sacked a couple of weeks ago. Goodes’s hours, not to mention days, at the club looked to be numbered after the side opened a Euroleague campaign at 0-2 for the first time in 17 years before dropping to a humbling BSL defeat to Hapoel Jerusalem at Yad Eliyahu Arena.

However, with the different factions in the team’s ownership failing to agree on the identity of Goodes’s replacement, the coach remained at the helm, guiding the team to a win over Dinamo Basket Sassari of Italy in Euroleague action last week before also overcoming Hapoel Holon in the BSL on Sunday night.

Another win over Bamberg could have really steadied the ship, but the defeat means he will have to endure intense speculation regarding his future yet again, assuming he isn’t fired beforehand.

Devin Smith had 19 points for Maccabi, which shot 25-of-65 from the field (38 percent). Daniel Theis scored 16 points for Bamberg, which improved to 2-2.

“We made many mistakes both offensively and defensively in the fourth quarter and when you make mistakes at this level you pay for them,” said Goodes. “Next week’s game now becomes even more important and we need to raise our level of play and start winning.”

Maccabi got off to a quick start on Thursday, with Smith’s three-pointer opening a 10-3 lead. The hosts responded with an 11-3 run to move into the lead and Maccabi still trailed by a single point entering the second quarter despite Taylor Rochestie’s three.

Bamberg remained in front for the remainder of the first half, taking a seven- point advantage (42-35) into the break following a Theis basket.

Tel Aviv played one of its better quarters of the season to start the second half, outscoring the Germans 22-9. Smith and Brian Randle ensured Maccabi erased the deficit and Trevor Mbakwe’s basket midway through the quarter completed the yellowand- blue comeback (47-46).

Maccabi continued to increase the gap until the end of the period, with Sylven Landeserg’s triple to end the frame opening a 57-51 advantage.

Goodes’s team was ideally placed to go on and claim the win, but instead it would lose its way in the final 10 minutes. Bamberg opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 surge (63-57), with Maccabi taking almost four minutes to score its first points of the period. Smith finally ended the drought with 6:12 minutes to play, but the momentum remained with the German champion, which continued to play its solid team basketball and scored the next six points to open a double-digit margin (69-59) for the first time in the game. There was no way back for Maccabi from there, and the defeat could very well also prove to be the end of the line for Goodes.
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