The sand in Maccabi’s hourglass is almost empty as time is not on their side after yet another Euroleague defeat

Maccabi Tel Aviv always seems to have trouble when they play against one of their former players and the 72-70 loss at Bayern Munich was no different as Jalen Reynolds carved them up early and often. The big man signed with Maccabi last season as an injury replacement for Tarik Black and played admirably while in Yellow & Blue, but when COVID-19 hit and the Euroleague decided to cancel the 2019/20 season coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos and the club decided to not extend the center’s contract and let him go as a free agent.

As they say one man’s loss is another man’s gain and that has certainly been the case for Bayern’s head coach Andrea Trinchieri. Reynolds has been spectacular all season long as one of the league leaders in points and rebounds and he came into his second game against his former club ready to go.

“It’s always fun playing against a team you played for in the past,” said Reynolds. “I just wanted to have a chip on my shoulder tonight as far as being an all-around teammate, passing the ball, finishing when they hit me. This is a special night and I’m happy that we got the win.”

Photo Credit: Bayern Munich

Reynolds kept Bayern hanging around all evening long and effectively ended his former team’s Euroleague campaign leaving Maccabi with a very slim chance to make it to the postseason.

Going into the game at 10-13, Maccabi needed to win and win desperately. They knew it was do or die and that every game from here on in was a final. However, Wade Baldwin came up huge in the fourth quarter to lead Bayern to a 21-12 period and clip Maccabi at the wire,”It was a tough one from the start. Maccabi’s a hungry team, they have incredible guards and an awesome big man.”

The Yellow & Blue had one awesome big man in Ante Zizic who scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds because the other center Othello Hunter was definitely not awesome with only 2 points and 3 boards in 13+ minutes.

Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Bayern Munich

It wasn’t just Baldwin with 8 points in the final frame that made all of the difference. It was James Gist with a massive turnaround jumper in the paint with the shot clock expiring as the game neared its end, plus his veteran leadership and lockdown defense, “You see what James Gist brings to our team: his defensive effort, his activity,” explained the guard.

Maccabi was in the drivers seat for 30 minutes as Sfairopoulos worked his magic on the sidelines, but at some point Trinchieri who has a 5-1 career record against the Greek coach was going to catch up, and catch up he did. “It was a close game for the entire game,” began Sfairopoulos. “We brought the game to rhythm we wanted and defensively we were good at keeping Bayern in low scoring. But we didn’t execute well on offense in the 4th quarter and we missed a lot of rebounds and gave up 2-3 easy layups.”

Andrea Trinchieri – Photo Credit: Bayern Munich

Missing rebounds was the name of the game for Maccabi as they allowed the hosts to grab 14 offensive boards and that’s a number which makes winning a game very, very hard. The efficiency rating was also way in favor of the German side 86-69 despite only winning by two points. All in all, Trinchieri always seems to have a way of pulling a win out of the hat; he’s an expert at that. “I want to congratulate Maccabi for playing a great game. They played really, really tough on defense and forced us to really raise our level.”

Unfortunately for Maccabi moral victories are worthless at this point of the season as the campaign continues to march forward with the Yellow & Blue going the wrong direction, but that has been the case all setons long. How many close losses have Maccabi endured this year? How may have been lost in the small details?

Ante Zizic – Photo Credit:

“We did a great job until the fourth quarter,” said Zizic. “We played hard on both ends but in the 4th quarter they outscored us and they grabbed 14 offensive rebounds. We made mistakes allowing Bayern to score 4 points in the last 90 seconds.”

Maccabi did have one more chance to either tie up the game and send it to overtime or win it on a triple. But once the ball made its way from John Dibartolomeo to Scottie Wilbekin you kind of knew where this was heading as his last gasp efforts this season had proved that their fate had already been sealed, Zizic explained, “We had a shot for the win and it was in our hands and we couldn’t take advantage.”

Angelo Caloiaro – Photo Credit:

Angelo Caloiaro who himself had another unimpressive offensive evening with 2 points in almost 33 minutes was even more stark in his comments, “We fought and battled and gave ourselves a great chance to win. We didn’t get it done in the end and unfortunately that’s kind of been the we’ve been going this season.”

Yes, that’s how it has been pretty much all season in losses at CSKA, home to Bayern, at Olympiacos, EFES and Valencia, home to Milano, at ASVEL, home to Zenit and Olympiacos and now on the road at Bayern. 10 defeats, 6 points and under. Ugh.

Ioannis Sfairopoulos – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Can Maccabi save their continental campaign at this point as they sport a 10-14 record? The chances are slim to none, however, there is still a chance as Sfairopoulos said, “The only thing we can do now is to fight for our possibilities and as long as we have a mathematical chance we will fight for this.”

Caloiaro echoed his coach’s comments, “We have a little time left and we got to fix it and turn it around.” But reality is really beginning to kick in that this season is done, well done. The sand in Maccabi’s hourglass has almost run out as time is not on their side.

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