Basketball: Maccabi Loses, But Retains First Place

— by Amir Shoam

Maccabi Tel Aviv lost today 62-64 to Unicaja Malaga in the basketball Euroleague group stage. However, with both teams holding a positive 5-1 record in the competition now, Maccabi still beats Malaga in the group table for winning it 85-80 in the first round. The score has been close for most of the game’s time, with Malaga leading twice by six points and Maccabi leading once by five only to see each other coming back. Devin Smith and Ricky Hickman missed during Maccabi’s last possession and could not force overtime.

More after the jump.
Center Shawn James contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals for Maccabi in 20 minutes. Hickman added 13 points, five rebounds and five steals in 28 minutes. Israeli guard Yogev Ohayon finished with seven points, seven of Maccabi’s total nine assists, and two steals in 31 minutes.

Just a couple of hours before the game rockets were fired to the Tel Aviv area, for the first time since the Gulf War in 1991. The result of Hamas’ attack was that the Yad Eliyahu arena (11,700 sits) was not full, which rarely happens in a Euroleague game.

“All through the game we played too slow and did not develop the kind of game we needed to”, said head coach David Blatt. “All of the surrounding events affected us more than they did them, but some things are more important than this game. Despite that, the game had to be played”, he added.

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