Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Sylven Landesberg looks to continue his recent improved play for the yellow-and-blue when it hosts Zalgiris Kaunas in Euroleague action tonight, after scoring a game-high 22 points, including the buzzer-beater, in Tuesday’s 81-79 win against Fenerbahce in Istanbul..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
While Maccabi Tel Aviv no longer has anything to play for in the Euroleague after losing any hope of reaching the playoffs, there is still plenty on the line for many of its players.
Whether they are trying to earn a contract elsewhere, an extension at Maccabi or just upgrade their status within the roster ahead of next season, the yellow-and-blue’s remaining continental contests could prove to be very significant for several of the team’s players.
Maccabi’s roster is set to undergo a complete overhaul yet again this summer, with only five players likely to continue in 2017/18.
They are Gal Mekel, Quincy Miller, Yogev Ohayon, Guy Pnini and Sylven Landesberg, who has been playing at Maccabi since 2012 and finally seems ready to make his long-awaited breakthrough.
The 26-year-old American-Israeli has made his case for a bigger role next season with his play over recent weeks, culminating in Tuesday’s 22-point performance and buzzer-beating winner shot in the 81-79 victory over Fenerbahce in Istanbu l.
Maccabi was already eliminated from playoff contention with last Thursday’s loss at Efes Istanbul and trailed by double digits in the first quarter against Fenerbahce.
The yellow-and-blue closed to within three points (41-38) by the break, and after a tight second half, the game came down to the final seconds. After Fenerbahce’s Bobby Dixon turned the ball over with six seconds remaining, Ohayon found Landesberg, and his shot at the buzzer bounced on the rim three times before dropping in and sparking an on-court celebration.
After averaging 3.0 points per game in the team’s first 21 Euroleague contests, not even playing in seven of them and going scoreless in eight games, Landesberg has been one of the team’s best players over recent weeks.
With Sonny Weems being released and Andrew Goudelock sidelined with an ankle injury, Landesberg has averaged 17.2 points over the side’s last six Euroleague games, with Maccabi winning three of them.
“I felt really good during the entire game and my teammates told me to stay aggressive and I did exactly that,” said Landesberg.
“I knew I didn’t have enough time to pass so I took a step back and attempted a tough shot. When the ball began to bounce on the rim it felt like an hour to me. I prayed that the ball would drop in as I was physically exhausted and didn’t want overtime. I was stunned that it went in after three bounces. I couldn’t believe it.”