Nearer Look: Maccabi’s many slim defeats

It has been fairly a roller-coaster for Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv this season. The Israel champs have solely minimal possibilities of reaching the EuroLeague Playoffs this season. Maccabi is ranked 14th with an 11-16 report – and 5 wins fewer than eighth-placed Zenit St Petersburg with seven video games left to play. It may have gone so completely different for Maccabi, which was ranked fourth within the standings final season when the COVID-19 pandemic induced the cancelation of the 2019-20 season. With a returning core and the additions of a number of key gamers, followers in Tel Aviv had, justifiably, excessive hopes.

Make no mistake, Maccabi has performed higher than its report would point out. The truth is, no staff in EuroLeague historical past has misplaced as many shut video games as Maccabi has this season. Ten of Maccabi’s 16 losses have come by 5 factors or much less, which is 2 greater than Brose Bamberg had in fewer video games in 2016-17. Meaning Maccabi has misplaced by 5 or fewer factors in 37.0 % of its video games, which is the best proportion by any staff underneath the present full-season EuroLeague format.

Not like final season, when Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s males had a profitable report (5-4) in video games determined by as much as 5 factors, this season they’ve received solely 4 such video games alongside these losses.

What’s extra, Maccabi led within the fourth quarter in seven of these 10 shut losses and in every of them, the opponent scored what proved to be the profitable level within the closing 30 seconds, together with 3 times within the sport’s dying seconds.

First, it was Aaron Harrison with a three-pointer on the buzzer for Olympiacos Piraeus in Spherical 4. In Spherical 10, Maccabi had possession in a tie sport in opposition to Valencia Basket to shoot a possible game-winner, however Bojan Dubljevic stole the ball and fed Sam Van Rossom for the game-winning layup with 2.9 seconds remaining. Within the following spherical, Malcolm Delaney hit a mid-range jumper with 3.6 seconds left in extra time to raise AX Armani Trade Milan to victory in Tel Aviv. In one other extra time loss, Maccabi led by 2 in opposition to Olympiacos in Spherical 19, however fouled Kostas Sloukas, who tied the sport from the road with 2.9 seconds remaining and the Reds prevailed within the additional session.

One other measure of Maccabi’s snake-bitten season will be seen from what is named the Pythagorean theorem of basketball, which claims {that a} staff’s win-loss report ought to mesh with its factors scored and allowed numbers. In different phrases, groups which have outscored their opponents over a full season ought to have profitable data and vice-versa. As of per week in the past, Maccabi had outscored its opponents by 7 factors, which was tenth greatest within the league, however was 14th within the standings with 4 extra losses than wins. Even following final week’s 18-point defeat by the hands of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, Maccabi’s plus/minus is best than three groups forward of it within the standings.

All of which is to say that upon nearer look, Maccabi has performed higher than its report exhibits this season, despite the fact that that info might be of little consolation to the staff’s gamers, teaching employees and followers.

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