Maccabi Tel Aviv’s disastrous season hit another low on Sunday, with the yellow registering an ignominious club record by losing a sixth straight game over all competitions for the first time in team history.
Maccabi dropped to a 76-73 defeat to Hapoel Eilat at Yad Eliyahu Arena, falling to a 17-9 record with its third consecutive BSL loss.
Tel Aviv also lost its final three games in the Euroleague regular season and hasn’t tasted victory since beating Fenerbahce in the Euroleague back on March 21.
Maccabi remains in second place behind Hapoel Holon, which holds a one-game lead, with each team having seven regular season games to play.
Maccabi visits Hapoel Jerusalem in its next game on Saturday.
Jerusalem has also lost three straight league contests, and at 13-13, has only a one-game margin in the fight for a top-eight finish and playoff qualification.
Eilat moved up to third place with the victory at Yad Eliyahu, improving to 16-10 to close to within one game of Maccabi, while also claiming the tiebreaker by winning for the second time in three regular season games against the yellow-and-blue.
Eilat scored only 10 points in the first 10 minutes, but a 24-4 run in the second quarter gave it a double-digit lead (36-26).
The visitors held a seven-point cushion (38-31) at the break, but Maccabi remained within striking distance and took its first lead (66-65) of the second half following Sylven Landesberg’s basket inside the final four minutes.
However, Eilat responded immediately, with five straight points by Afik Nissim giving the visitors a six-point advantage (74-68) with 1:45 minutes to play. Eilat lost its head in the final minute, failing to get a shot off on three consecutive possessions.
Maccabi couldn’t take advantage though, missing four opportunities to tie the score with a three-pointer, with Devin Smith’s miss in the final seconds capping the yellow-and-blue’s miserable night.
Will Daniels scored 15 points for Eilat, which won for the 10th time in its past 12 games. Smith and Guy Pnini scored 18 points each for Maccabi.
Meanwhile, only two games separate Maccabi Haifa in fifth place and Maccabi Rishon Lezion in ninth. Haifa improved to 14-12 with an 84-82 win at Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil (11-15), while Maccabi Rishon Lezion (12-14) beat Maccabi Kiryat Gat (4-22) 94-87. Ironi Nahariya moved tied with Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv at 13-13 after beating the Reds 105-80 at the Drive-In Arena.
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