Maccabi Tel Aviv has lost two of its first four Euroleague
games this season after Efes Pilsen
held off the defending European champions 90-88 Thursday night in Istanbul
Maccabi got one last chance at the end of a closely-fought forty minutes. Neither team was able to open up a large gap and the lead went back and forth throughout the game.
Despite impressive displays by forward Maceo Baston
and guard Will Solomon, poor performances by usually reliable stars Anthony Parker
and Nikola Vujcic doomed Maccabi.
Solomon, who scored 28 points, was especially eager to beat Pilsen after leaving the Turkish club on bad terms to join Maccabi over the summer.
Baston, who has suffered in recent weeks with an ankle injury, demonstrated why Maccabi had missed him so much in the last few weeks, scoring 29 points.
Tel Aviv will be especially disappointed with the result after playing some of its best basketball for long periods in the game and still losing at the end.
Maccabi started the game well and opened up an 11-point gap in the middle of the second quarter, but Efes Pilsen quickly clawed its way back and went into the break only five points behind.
The Turkish side came out in the second half keen to put its lackluster first half behind it and trailed Maccabi by two going into the final period.
Efes Pilsen's push continued into the fourth, and the hosts quickly opened up a lead.
Maccabi stayed close until the very end. After Will Solomon sank the first of two free throws with five seconds left to get Maccabi within two points, Efes Pilsen could not control the rebound on the second shot, and Maccabi had one last chance to tie or win the game.
The inbounds pass went to Anthony Parker, who had gotten free on the left baseline. Parker's three-point, potentially game-winning attempt bounced off the rim.
Efes Pilsen was led by Henry Domercant
, who scored 22 points, and also enjoyed solid performances by guard Marko Popovic, who scored 18 points, and forward Kaya Peker
, who had 17.
Maccabi has yet to win away from home in the Euroleague this season, after losing last month to Greek club Olympiacos and dropped to 2-2. The yellow-and-blue are two games behind group leader Efes Pilsen, which is undefeated after its four games.
Jerusalem Post sports staff contributed to this report.