Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Taylor Rochestie.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv can complete a dramatic and unlikely comeback in Istanbul on Thursday night, with a win by at least 11 points over Darussafaka in their regular season finale to send the yellow-and-blue into the Euroleague Top 16.
Maccabi’s hopes of progressing looked to be dead and buried after it opened Group D with six defeats from its first seven games, five of them by double digits.
However, the signing of coach Zan Tabak in place of Guy Goodes has reinvigorated the side, with Maccabi registering consecutive wins in the Euroleague for the first time after overcoming Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari of Italy and Brose Baskets Bamberg of Germany to improve to 3-6. Following Darussafaka’s (4-5) 94-66 loss at CSKA Moscow (8-1) last Friday, the yellowand- blue can advance by beating the Turks by at least 11 points on Thursday, with Maccabi losing 84-73 to the Istanbul side at Yad Eliyahu Arena earlier this season. Manu Markoishvili led the way for Darussafaka with 22 points and Semih Erden did not miss a shot, scoring 18 for the winners. Any other result will send Maccabi to the Eurocup Last 32.
“We know the importance of this game, but if we always think of the importance and not of the basketball side we will be in trouble,” said Tabak, who is sweating over the fitness of Yogev Ohayon and Sylven Landesberg.
“We have 3-4 players that are doubtful to play and we will see how they feel. The kind of game Maccabi was playing before is not the same kind of game we play right now so we don’t know how we will match up with them.
“They have a deep roster and have 2-3 players in every position. It is a team that also has loads of talent on the outside and can also play at the low post. They have a complete team, but we are confident because we won our last game.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed a sweet 90-77 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the first derby of the season on Monday night, registering its fourth straight win over all competitions to improve to 8-3 in the BSL. Tel Aviv scored 16 three-pointers for a second straight game after also punishing Bamberg from beyond the arc.
“You don’t need special mental preparation for a game like this because everyone is aware of the importance of the game,” explained Tabak. “You cannot think about winning by 11 if you don’t first win the game. First of all we need to play a good game and continue to improve as a team.
Secondly, we need to try to win on the road and only after that we will see if we can win the game by 11 points.”