Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Sylven Landesberg led the team with 19 points in Russia last night, but it was not enough to avoid a 93-81 loss to CSKA Moscow..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Following a disastrous Euroleague campaign and considering the outcome of its recent visits to CSKA Moscow, Maccabi Tel Aviv was far from disappointed with Thursday’s 93-81 loss to the reigning European champion.
Maccabi entered the game as a firm underdog even before it was announced that its top scorer, Andrew Goudelock, won’t play due to an ankle injury. The yellow-andblue lost its past three games against CSKA in Russia by an average 28.3 points and surely was concerned it would be on the wrong side of another blowout against what is once more one of the favorites to win the Euroleague.
Maccabi dropped into an early double-digit deficit on Thursday, but a 34-point second quarter brought it to within striking distance (54- 48) at the interval. Despite trailing by single digits for much of the second half, Maccabi couldn’t mount a serious comeback and fell to an 8-15 record with an 11th defeat from the past 14 games.
Maccabi could find itself four games back of eighth place in the standings on Friday night, and even though it will still have seven more games to play in the regular season, there seems to be little doubt the yellow-and-blue will fail to qualify for the quarterfinal playoffs.
Sylven Landesberg led five Maccabi players in double figures with 19 points, with Victor Rudd adding 14 points. Nando De Colo scored 29 points for CSKA, which improved to 17-6.
“We were really worried about how we would play because we were playing against one of the best teams in Europe, one of the best offenses in Europe,” said Maccabi coach Ainars Bagatskis.
“For us it was the fifth game in nine days. We played without Andrew Goudelock. Some players played with injuries and I want to thank them.”
Bagatskis said poor rebounding and turnovers ended up costing Maccabi the game.
“We started the game not so good with many turnovers. I told the players before the game the most important thing against a team like CSKA is to not hesitate, especially on offense. We did exactly the opposite,” the Latvian explained. “But after that we played better in defense and caught up in offense and at halftime we were back in the game. And then in the third quarter we had some open shots, plus many free throws, but we missed them. And CSKA got the lead. The same was in the fourth quarter. The problem was with rebounds.18 offensive rebounds for CSKA leaves almost no chance to be in the game.”