Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv visits Anadolu Efes as part of gameday 7 of the EuroLeague (Thursday, 19:30 ISR time, live on Sport5 - channel 55). The Israeli champions come into the matchup against the Turkish side after a win over Maccabi Rishon Le'Zion, clinching a spot in the Winner Cup Finals against Hapoel Holon. The Yellow & Blue will look to improve their 2:4 record in the main European competition and win their second road game of the season.
"Efes is a very talented team that last year had a great season, maintaining the same roster and coach. They maybe didn't start the season well, but they showed up well playing their style in last week's game", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos about the opponent before departing to the matchup. "They are very dangerous, and they have players that can pound you, so for us, it's very important to go and fight for every possession, follow our game plan, and stay concentrated for 40 minutes".
"If we'll lose our concentration for one or two minutes, that would be enough for them to find a rhythm and kill us. It's a challenging game, and we will fight hard for the best of the club".
"We probably have to be more consistent through all four quarters of the game", Answered Sandy Cohen to the media in the pregame press conference. "I feel like we have really good stretches, but we need to be more consistent through all four quarters and sustain the same energy and playstyle. If we can do that, we have a good chance of winning".
"It's my first season at this level, so it's an adjustment and learning period for me", Said Maccabi's first-year player Oz Blayzer. "The staff supports me a lot, we are only at the starting point, and there will be ups and downs, but my goal is to be as consistent as I can and always be on the upside. I believe it will happen because I'm striving to improve and learn from game to game. There will also be down games, it's a part of a process a player and a team goes throughout a season, but I'm doing my best to establish myself as a legitimate EuroLeague player".
Ergin Ataman, Anadolu Efes's head coach, won't have Shane Larkin, Bryant Dunston, and Sertac Sanli, while the 2.21 big man, Tibor Pleiss, will be a game-time decision. The Turkish squad matched up five times this season, holding a 2:3 record with wins over Alba Berlin and Olympiacos while dropping games to Zenit, Fenerbahce, and Zalgiris.
Even without Larkin, Efes's backcourt features impressive EuroLeague talent as Rodrigue Beaubois, Vasilije Micic, and Krunoslav Simon. The frontcourt includes Chris Singleton, Adrien Moerman, and James Anderson, who are expected to fill in most of the minutes as Pleiss is still questionable to play. These teams have faced each other 18 times since 2000, as history presents a 9:9 tie. In Istanbul, Efes has a 5:4 record against Maccabi.
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