Recap: With a 16-year-old in the top five, Real Madrid beat Barcelona in the Clasico 79:86/Sport1
Just before the start of its Euroleague season, almost everything that could have gone wrong for Maccabi Tel Aviv went wrong last night (Sunday) when the Yellows lost to Hapoel Jerusalem in the Winner's Cup final 79:71. Apart from the loss, Maccabi Tel Aviv lost Wade Baldwin to a back injury before the game, and Josh Nivo to a groin injury.
Baldwin, who has a stiff back, was given an injection to try and loosen his back in the locker room while his teammates were on the court in warm-ups, but could not play. The Yellows will know more about his condition over the next two days, with the hope that he will be able to play on Thursday. Nivo was injured during the second quarter, went down to the locker room, was treated, returned to the court, but after two plays and one slip, it was decided not to endanger him. Maccabi Tel Aviv assessed that the chances of him being able to take part in the Euroleague opener against Partizan Belgrade on Thursday are reasonable.
The team was disappointed with the loss, and more disappointed with the big fall at the beginning of the second half, when Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped a significant advantage, and saw Jerusalem on a 2-17 run take control of the game on the way to victory. In the first 20 minutes, largely thanks to John DiBartolomeo and Bonzi Coulson, Oded Ketch's team managed to control the game and lead 35:43.
Apart from these two and Rafi Manko, the loser struggled to find bright spots. Tamir Blatt continued not to shoot with 1 of 10 in the Winner's Cup from beyond the arc, but this time he was a little less scattered with only 2 turnovers along with 6 assists. Lorenzo Brown was out of the game for almost 32-33 minutes, but in the decisive minutes it was he who took responsibility, finishing with 16 points, and giving the first signal that his unconvincing preparation might not be indicative of anything. Jaciel Rivero finished 19 minutes with 4 points and no rebound, and still struggles to get into a rhythm.
Big disappointment in yellow/Danny Maron
"We have a lot of reasons to be worried," admitted one Maccabi Tel Aviv member after the game, "first of all we have to be concerned about injuries, then about the fact that many players are far from the fitness suitable for opening a season in the Euroleague. On the other hand, we know the qualities of this team, we hope to recover quickly."
"They only ask me about the importance of the Winner's Cup when we lose, they're a good team, they play good defense. We'll have to look at it, we didn't deal with it properly today," Jake Cohen said after the game, "It started with how we opened the third quarter, they picked up the defense and we didn't respond fast enough. It was an important game for us to prepare us for Thursday. We have a lot of confidence in this team, we know we can cope and get out of everything, the new players show they have it too. I don't look on the negative side, we have good guys in the dressing room, when you have a good dressing room you have a good season."
Cohen was asked about the events of the Winner's Cup semi-final and said: "It was very complicated, I was expecting a derby, they have a good team. I can't control if the group doesn't show up. I don't know what happened outside the courtroom with the police, from my experience, the derbies only get worse and more violent. I hope things will be better than now, and that there will be no more mess. Hopefully when something dramatic like Thursday happens, it brings back good basketball in the best and fun way."
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"I don't look on the negative side." Cohen/Danny Maron
Maccabi Tel Aviv said overnight that the hope is that they will be in a full squad for Thursday's Euroleague opener against Partizan Belgrade, but even if not, they will get James Webb and Antonius Cleveland, who did not dress last night, and the two are supposed to solve some of the problems that have arisen.
At the same time, the team will know in the coming days whether Ben Carter, who is completing the team's training and dressed for the Winner's Cup, will remain in the squad until the end of the season or will choose to move to Hapoel Holon, which wants to sign him immediately in order to strengthen the squad.
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