Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Fenerbahce 87-73 as their record fell to a game under .500 at 13-14 after Gameday 27 of the Euroleague. The Yellow & Blue find themselves in 9th place just behind Baskonia who will play Bamberg at home on Wednesday night. Pierre Jackson scored 13 points while Jonah Bolden and Deshaun Thomas dropped 12 points for Maccabi as Marko Guduric led the host’s with 23 points shooting 5/6 from beyond the arc in the win.
Maccabi took a 21-16 lead after the first quarter thanks to 8 points from Deshaun Thomas, however, Fenerbahce took a 9-point lead in to halftime thanks to a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter as Luigi Datome dropped 13 points in the frame. The 3rd quarter was more of the same as the host’s extended their lead to 74-56 with Datome and Marko Guduric (18) leading the way as the final quarter was full of garbage time for the Yellow & Blue.
1) What happened after the first quarter? Maccabi played a solid opening 10 minutes but then it all went downhill from there. Fener coach Zelimir Obradovic woke his troops up and the insertion of Datome sent the Turkish team on its way moving their record to 19-8. The host’s controlled the boards 38-32, dished out more assists 22-12 and also turned the ball over only 6 times; those number just prove that Maccabi is just not good enough to play against the top teams. They are missing something. Is it leadership? Is it scoring? Is it defense? It’s really a combination of them all and that’s something that you can’t improve on over the last 3 games of the Euroleague regular season.
2) The Maccabi guards again combined for a night to forget; Michael Roll 2/7 5p, Pierre Jackson 5/12 13p, Norris Cole 3/7 6p and 4 turnovers just wasn’t going to be good enough against Fenerbahce. Alex Tyus also had a game that he’d like to put into the garbage can with 2 points going 1/4 from the field. Fenerbahce out hustled and out worked Maccai time and time again all game long and it showed over the last 30 minutes of the contest. The defending champs have plenty of weapons and weapons that can come at you from every angle. Guduric, Datome, Sloukas and Vesely did plenty of damage both offensively and defensively as they dominated Maccabi.
3) Tuesday. Not the most friendliest of days for Maccabi this season. Olympiacos, Efes, Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, Fenerbahce. What do all of these teams represent? Losses on Tuesday and an 0-5 record in Euroleague double weeks. Not good. On the bright side Maccabi is 3-1 on the other end of the week with one more game to come this Thursday against Panathinaikos in what is no question a must win as will be the final two games in Spain against Baskonia and Valencia. Maccabi’s got to win 3 games in a row in order to advance to the quarterfinals, that’s the bottom line.
“We’re a completely new team with new players and we’re still learning playing in the Euroleague and I’ve been proud of them up until last week in the game against Khimki,” said Head Coach Neven Spahija following the loss to Fenerbahce. True it’s a new team with new players, but truth be told since the State Cup Final loss to Hapoel Holon it’s been downhill for Maccabi. That defeat took something out of them and there is patience certainly, but not only the patience is running out very, very quickly but also their chances to continue to the next stage. With the quality play seen for the majority of the season, to would be a huge pity if everything became unravelled now. There is still chance but that is evaporating quickly. To think that just a couple of weeks ago Maccabi was dreaming about 6th place, now 8th would be close to a miracle.