After taking a big step back with an away loss to Willerban on Tuesday (Wednesday), Maccabi Tel Aviv is tonight hosted by one of the best teams that the Euroleague has to offer – Barcelona, the current table leader. There is no field in Europe where the Yellows have lost more times than the Palau Blaugrana, when the last foreign victory of the Israeli champions in Catalonia was somewhere in December 2005 and in the last five visits, Maccabi suffered losses by an average of almost 17 points. Last season, it ended in a 73:96 win for Barça.
Yannis Sapropoulos’ team arrives, as mentioned, after surrendering 84:81 in France and dropping a streak of two victories in the European arena, which left it in 13th place in the table with only five victories from 14 games. The yellow squad has returned to full appearance in the last two weeks, after Yuval Sussman was the last of the injured to return to action and join John Dibertolomao and Omri Caspi. The latter, who rested in the cup game against Hapoel Haifa and also against Wheelerban, returned to the squad tonight and should receive minutes, hoping to narrow the steps of the rival forwards a little. In order to tickle Barcelona, at the very least, Maccabi Tel Aviv will need a significant improvement in defense (absorbed 50 points in the first half yesterday) and a greater contribution on offense than any player other than Scotty Wilbkin.
Barcelona have won their last three games in the Euroleague, including a 74:87 home win over Moscow Khimki yesterday. The Catalan team, which failed to win the Spanish championship last season, parted ways with coach Svetislav Peshic and appointed Sharonas Jasikevicius in his place, who starred as a player at both Barça and Maccabi. In addition, she strengthened her already powerful roster by signing Nick Claths as center-back and adding him to the star-studded squad that includes Nikola Mirotic, Corey Higgins, Alex Abrins and Brandon Davis, among others.
the progress of the game
Scotty Wilbkin, Elijah Bryant, Angelo Cloiaro, Dragon Bender and Othello Hunter came on in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s quintet. ‘Open with two baskets, but Hunter with a point from the line and Bryant with a successful penetration shrank, before the chin became 4: 5. Bender contributed six straight points, Mirotic and Klaths shrank to 11: 8 on the other side, but Wilbkin lifted the Hunter for the all-hop that caused Sharas to call a timeout.Higgins came back from him with four points, Caspi came off the bench and returned with his own basket, Žižić also scored and set 12:17.
Smiths started the second quarter with a basket and Koric added a three that forced a tie, Dorsey sniped across the arc on the other side, but Koric returned with another one and made it 20:20 after about four minutes.