Maccabi Tel-Aviv stuns CSKA Moscow

In yesterday’s Euroleague road-game Maccabi Tel-Aviv crushed CSKA Moscow (76-93)! Primarily thanks to a 14-29 run in the fourth quarter. It was the first victory for the Israelis in Moscow since 2004!

The visitors came back from an early double-digit deficit (16-4) and then took control of the game. Maccabi Tel-Aviv remained competitive for three quarters (29-32, 41-46, 62-64) and decimated their opponents in the fourth one.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Thanks to an 8-18 run, they earned a 12-point lead and never
looked back (70-82). CSKA couldn’t turn things around and suffered their worst
loss at home in more than six years.

Yovel Zoosman led the winners with 15 points and six rebounds.
Johnny O’Bryant added 14 points and Alex Tyus 12 points, six boards and four

Nando De Colo and Will Clyburn scored 16 points apiece for the
losing squad. Othello Hunter posted 12 points and nine rebounds.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv improved to 7-11, whereas CSKA Moscow dropped to 13-5. Thanks to this win, the Israeli powerhouse boosted its Euroleague playoff hopes, despite a poor start.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv won only once in the first seven games and the club parted ways with the head coach at the time, Neven Spahija. Former Olympiacos head coach, Giannis Sfaiopoulos, took over and has been the team’s reformer since then.

Under the Greek head coach the club lost the next two games. They were defeated by Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahce, respectively, but since then everything looks different.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv has won six of their last nine games and has improved to 7-11 in the standings. As a result, they now are one win away from the last play-off spot, tied with Khimki and Zalgiris Kaunas. Panathinaikos, Baskonia and Armani Milano are one victory ahead, at 8-10. Bayern Munich currently stands in the seventh place, at 9-9.

Coach Sfairopoulos has helped his players enhance their performance on both ends of the floor. Maccabi Tel-Aviv is averaging 79.1 points per game offensively, whereas they concede 80.2 points per game.

The next five games will determine whether the club will maintain a playoff push in the Euroleague. Maccabi will host Barcelona (11-7), Panathinaikos (8-10) and Olympiacos (11-7), while they will travel to Baskonia (8-10) and Milano (8-10).

It is not likely that they will surpass the “Blaugrana” and the “Reds”. The Catalans and the Greeks will fight with Anadolu Efes (12-6) for the fourth place in the standings.

The other three matches, though, are must-win for the Israelis,
if they are to climb to the eighth place.

Until now, coach Sfairopoulos has done a great job and has
brought back the winning mentality. The roster consists of players that can
make the difference on both ends of the floor.

Will Maccabi Tel-Aviv be able to make it to the Euroleague postseason? That’s one of the top-10 Euroleague burning questions this season.

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