Jerusalem bows out of Champions League with 88-83 loss to Limoges: Which critical mistake cost the Reds?

Limoges shocked Hapoel Jerusalem 88-83 to eliminate the Reds from the Basketball Champions League. Dainius Adomaitis’s squad had a chance to punch their ticket to the Playoff Round after Turk Telekom defeated Igokea 94-86 in Ankara but loss sent them packing from continental play.

The Reds kept the contest tight throughout but with the score 81-81 Marcus Ginyard hit a 3-pointer and Speedy Smith scored a layup and free throws to notch the victory as Jerusalem finished a disappointing 2-4 record in group stage play.

Speedy Smith – Photo Credit: FIBA

Nicolas Lang and Jerry Boutsiele scored 19 points a piece and Hugo Invernizzi added 17 points while Speedy Smith checked in with 10 points and 13 assist in the Limoges win. J’Covan Brown led Jerusalem with 21 points, Suleiman Braimoh added 16 points and 11 rebounds as Tashawn Thomas chipped in with 13 points in the loss.

Suleiman Braimoh – Photo Credit: FIBA

Hapoel Jerusalem finished off an utterly disappointing European campaign, one that they will like to file in the circular bin and send down the river. In truth it began in Athens at the Final 8 where it was clear that the Reds weren’t even close to being the same team that had been so dominant last season. The late addition of Nikos Pappas to the squad for the one game in Greece was totally unnecessary and a move that proved to be worthless after Jerusalem were easily disposed of by eventual Champions San Pablo Burgos. The move was peculiar to say the least but one could also see that the new players Tarik Phillip and Malcolm Hill just weren’t good enough to compete at that level.

The continental season then got underway with a close loss on the road in Ankara at Turk Telekom and then that was followed by a home win against Limoges in game that Jerusalem began way, way behind but were able to come back and make a dent.

Malcolm Hill – Photo Credit: FIBA

A split of games at Igokea put the Reds in a very precarious situation as then coach Oded Katash decided to try and surprise the Bosnian squad by playing Malcolm Hill who had been recovering from a broken hand. However, that move backfired on the Reds as they fell in the first game with Hill playing close to 20 minutes and scoring just 4 points. Hill then played 13+ minutes in the win over Igokea but was held scoreless.

Back in Israel the worst kept secret was out of the bag as Oded Katash would be leaving to take over behind the bench at Panathinaikos. This was where the most critical of mistakes was made by management allowing Katash to coach the crucial game against Turk Telekom.

Oded Katash – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

In no way shape or form should Katash been allowed to be behind the bench for that game. It’s not a question of professionalism or that Katash wanted to coach, you never knows what type of effect his imminent departure will have on the players from a mental state.

They can tell you that they are all professionals and that they are dong their job, but you never know what might go through a players head with a the game on the line and we all saw that happen when a massive lead evaporated in the fourth quarter as Turk was able to snatch a 78-77 win at the death. Turk led for all of 3 seconds and those were the most important ones of the game, at the end.

Slavisa Jokanovic – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

This same situation happened backing December of 2015 when Maccabi Tel Aviv FC coach Slavisa Jovanovic was leaving the club in another poorly kept secret. The team decided to have him manage a crucial league game against their biggest rivals Hapoel Beer Sheva at home and they lost. Not only did the lose that game, they also lost the championship race by a mere 3 points. Should they have won or drawn the Yellow & Blue would have won the title. But that was not the case.

Jerusalem needed to take that as a case lesson to draw from and understand that assistant coach Yonatan Alon should have been on the sidelines that game plain and simple. Instead, Katash was coaching, Dainius Adomiatis was in a box watching his new team fall from a afar. However, soon enough he saw them lose two tight games up close as they were knocked out of the Balkan League by Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion and by Limoges in the Champions League. Very, very quickly he’s 0-2.

Not the start that Adomaitis had wanted as the club may now make s number of roster changes as they will only be competing in the Israeli league and the Final Four of the State Cup.

Dainius Adomaitis – Photo Credit: FIBA

“First of all basketball is a game you need to play with very good concentration especially individually defensively,” said Jerusalem coach Dainius Adomaitis. “We made too many mental mistakes defensively against their shooters. Our discipline on both defensively and offensively was not good enough especially when we took the lead and that is when we needed to have concentration and we didn’t do that well.”

Chris Kramer – Photo Credit: FIBA

Veteran guard Chris Kramer also reflected on the defeat, “This one hurts. One of the worst things in basketball is when you don’t control your destiny completely. We had to win and get some help and at the end we didn’t do our part. At the end of the day we didn’t do our part. We need to do better.”

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