Maccabi Tel Aviv’s top scorers Andrew Goudelock (left) and Sylven Landesberg celebrate during last night’s 85-84 win over Baskonia Vitoria at Yad Eliyahu Arena..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv registered just its third win in the past 13 Euroleague games on Thursday night, eking out an 85-84 victory over Baskonia Vitoria at Yad Eliyahu Arena to remain within three games of eighth place in the standings.
With only eight more regular season games to play and a visit to CSKA Moscow to come in its next continental encounter in two weeks, Maccabi’s chances of reaching the quarterfinal playoffs remain slim.
But at least it finally gave itself a reason to smile on Thursday, picking up some much-needed confidence ahead of the decisive stages of the State Cup next week. The yellow-and-blue faces Maccabi Ashdod in the cup semifinals on Monday in Jerusalem, with the winner to play either Hapoel Jerusalem or Hapoel Holon in Thursday’s final.
Maccabi (8-14) led from start to finish on Thursday and was still in full control with just over two minutes to play, holding a nine-point gap (85-76).
The yellow-and-blue wouldn’t score again though, and was fortunate to hold on for the win after Vitoria failed to get a shot off in its final possession when trailing by just a single point.
“I’m just happy we got the win,” said Maccabi guard Andrew Goudelock, who scored a team-high 19 points. “We needed it. We stuck to the game plan. We really focused coming out in the second half playing with the same energy that we had in the first and second quarters.
That has been our problem in the last two months and I’m really proud of everybody.”
Sylven Landesberg added 18 points, with Andrea Bargnani scoring 17 for Baskonia, which fell to 12-10.
Maccabi got off to a fast start, scoring the first eight points of the night. The hosts remained in front for the remainder of the first quarter, but took just a four-point lead (22-18) into the second quarter.
The Spaniards moved level with Johannes Voigtmann’s basket three minutes into the second period (26-26), but Goudelock ensured the yellowand- blue would never trail, scoring eight straight points to give Maccabi a 46-37 advantage.
Tel Aviv scored the first nine points of the third frame to establish a comfortable 16-point cushion, with Landesberg catching fire. Since the first game of the season in which he scored 15 points, the Israeli forward hadn’t reached double figures in the Euroleague, going scoreless in the team’s past four contests. Landesberg netted 10 points in the third quarter alone and Maccabi led by a record 19 points (66-47) with three minutes to play in the frame.
The visitors limited the damage until the end of the quarter, closing within 14 points (69- 55) and continued to eat away at the deficit in the fourth period.
They would come within one point, but couldn’t complete the comeback to Maccabi’s relief.