The Euroleague encounter between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Belgium's Charleroi ended last night with an expected win, 94-78, for the hosts at Yad Eliahu.
The question marks over Maccabi's real abilities still remain, however, ahead of the most vital clash in the group that will come in two weeks' time, at home against group A arch-rival Benetton Treviso. The Italian club has the same record as Maccabi, nine wins and two losses.
Last night's win against a team with effectively only one proper player, John Jerome, in its lineup was never in doubt. Even with the excellent shooting skills of veteran Belgian player Jacques Stas, who had a 4-4 record from three points land in the first half and a 5-6 total, Maccabi's defense should never have allowed itself to concede 78 points against a club of the likes of Charleroi.
Stas failed in his role as point guard, however, with six of his inbound passes finding the wrong address and the ball being turned over to a yellow shirt.
There were no surprises for the home crowd yesterday, as Maccabi put on the usual show of its strengths. Anthony Parker was superb once again with 24 points (nine out of 14 attempts in field goals) and Nate Huffman hardly found himself under pressure against a team that did not know how to stop him as he pulled down 17 rebounds.
Nadav Henefeld kept the defense together, but Husein Besok appears to have lost his will to play and coach David Blatt could find himself in trouble when it comes to the big-time opposition of Benetton and he really needs all the help he can get from all of his players.
Besok was totally out of sorts last night and with him on the court, Charleroi went on a 12-point streak that reduced the arrears from 23 points (60-83 in the 34th minute) to only 11 points (72-83 in the 37th) - a worrying time for Maccabi.
The disorganized game by the home team saw Charleroi open up an early lead at 6-2 in the second minute, with the visitors scoring almost at will from three-point range.
Maccabi clawed its way back to lead 21-20 at the end of the first quarter and opened up the gap further to go into the half 47-39 ahead. But it was a disorganized game all the way through to the end.
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