Victor Rudd (left) has been one of the lone bright spots in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s disappointing Euroleague campaign, scoring in double figures in six consecutive games entering tonight’s clash against Galatasaray in Istanbul..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
After another week in which it made headlines for all the wrong reasons, Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Brose Bamberg in Euroleague action in Germany on Thursday night, aiming to combine three straight wins over all competitions for the first time since last November.
Maccabi parted ways with American forward Sonny Weems earlier this week, voiding his contract after he failed to complete a drug test on Saturday.
Weems was the highest paid player on Maccabi’s roster, being handed a $3 million contract for two seasons.
His contribution both on and off the court was bitterly disappointing, averaging 11.6 points, 3.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game in the Euroleague and often being blamed for the acrimonious atmosphere in the yellowand- blue dressing room.
By leaving the drug test – which was organized by the club – without permission, Weems gave Maccabi’s management the opportunity it was waiting for to cut its losses.
The team realistically has little chance of advancing to the quarterfinal playoffs, even though it sits only three games back of Darussafaka in eighth place in the standings with 10 regular season games to play.
But with five teams separating Tel Aviv and David Blatt’s side, and especially considering Maccabi’s poor play so far this season, it seems highly unlikely the yellow-and-blue will somehow manage to reach the post-season.
Maccabi improved to a 7-13 record with last Thursday’s 60-52 win over Unics Kazan, just its second Euroleague victory since November, with the team losing nine of its previous 10 games.
Since it won five consecutive games over all competitions, including three straight in the Euroleague, in what was its best stretch of the season back in November, Maccabi hasn’t triumphed in more than two contests in a row.
Tel Aviv enters Thursday’s encounter on the back of two straight victories, beating Maccabi Ashdod 91-85 in BSL action on Monday following the win over Kazan.
Maccabi has also got a BSL game at Hapoel Jerusalem to look forward to on Sunday and could certainly use some positive momentum entering the showdown with its big local rival.
Bamberg has also got a 7-13 record in the Euroleague, losing its last four games. However, it registered a convincing 85-70 road win in Tel Aviv at the start of December and will aim to take advantage of a distracted Maccabi roster on Thursday.