Season-saving triumph for Maccabi Tel Aviv

“We did our job tonight and now we can only hope things go our way on Friday,” said Landesberg. “We came out fighting and we will do the same in Turkey next week.”

By
December 11, 2015 06:30
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sylven Landesberg (center) led all scorers with 19 points last night in the

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sylven Landesberg (center) led all scorers with 19 points last night in the yellow-and-blue’s emphatic 85-65 win over Brose Baskets Bamberg at Yad Eliyahu Arena. (. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

 
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Maccabi Tel Aviv remained in contention to reach the Euroleague Top 16 for at least 24 more hours with an impressive 85-65 victory over Brose Baskets Bamberg of Germany at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Thursday night.

A defeat on Thursday would have already ended Maccabi’s hopes of advancing with one more regular season game to play. The yellow-and-blue has never failed to reach the Top 16.

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Tel Aviv still doesn’t have its fate in its own hands despite outplaying Bamberg to improve to 3-6 in Group D. Maccabi registered two Euroleague victories in a row for the first time this season after overcoming Dinamo Banco di Sardegna last week, but all it will be able to do on Friday is cross its fingers and hope that CSKA Moscow doesn’t slip up against Darussafaka (4-4). Maccabi’s campaign will be over should the Turks defeat group leader CSKA (7-1) in Russia.

Darussafaka enters the game as a firm underdog and should it lose, the fourth and final berth to the Top 16 from Group D will be decided in next week’s meeting between Maccabi and the Turkish team in Istanbul.

The yellow-and-blue will still have plenty of work to do, needing to triumph by at least 12 points in Turkey to claim the tiebreaker after losing their first meeting of the season at Yad Eliyahu 84-73.

Maccabi will at least be entering that game brimming with confidence after registering arguably its best performance of the season against Bamberg. New coach Zan Tabak finally got his players to perform at both ends of the court, with Maccabi hitting an excellent 16-of-25 attempts from three-point range. The yellow-and-blue also registered 22 assists and outrebounded Bamberg 39-31.

Sylven Landesberg led Maccabi with 19 points, while Taylor Rochestie added 16 points and seven assists.

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Devin Smith contributed 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.

“We did our job tonight and now we can only hope things go our way on Friday,” said Landesberg. “We came out fighting and we will do the same in Turkey next week.”

Daniel Theis had 13 points for Bamberg, which had already secured its progress to the Top 16.

Maccabi struggled to hit its stride offensively at the start of the game, but it was taking care of business on the defensive end, holding Bamberg to just four points in the first six minutes.

The hosts maintained that defensive intensity until the final buzzer and they surged ahead once they began hitting shots from beyond the arc.

Landesberg took his personal tally to eight points and Maccabi’s to 14 to open a first double-digit margin (14-4) and the yellow-and-blue led by 12 (22- 10) after 10 minutes.

Guy Pnini ensured Maccabi also opened the second period with a three and Trevor Mbakwe’s basket took the gap to 17 points (27-10). Bamberg didn’t lose hope and closed within single digits (33-25) with three minutes remaining in the first half.

However, Maccabi would score eight of the final 11 points of the period to reestablish a comfortable margin (41- 28). Landesberg’s third triple of the night took the lead past 20 points (53- 31) for the first time midway through the third quarter and there would be no way back for Bamberg.

Yogev Ohayon beat the third quarter buzzer with Maccabi’s 15th trey from 21 attempts, opening a 20-point gap (70-50) and securing a win that allows the yellow-and-blue to continue and believe at least until Friday night.

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