Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv will host Zenit St Petersburg in Menora Mivtachim Arena as part of Round 17 of the 2020/21 EuroLeague season (Tuesday, 21:00, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55). The Israeli champions (7:9), who won four of their last five European contests, look to continue their recent success with a victory over Zenit, who'll play their first-ever game in Tel Aviv.
In its second season in the competition, the Russian squad enters the game in sixth place, holding a 9:5 record. After two unsuccessful seasons in Barcelona, Kevin Pangos is striving as Xabi Pascual's floor general averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 assists per game. Zenit roster displays excellent shooters, especially from three: Will Thomas (43.3%), Billy Baron (42.1%), and KC Rivers (41.4%).
"So far this season, Zenit is one of the best teams in the league, holding a great record", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos before the matchup. "Although they've had corona issues at the start of the season, they are still playing really good basketball, winning 6 of 8 road games that shows their quality. They are very good on both ends of the court, especially on defense".
"We need to play smart on offense and not get trapped in their gameplan. This game is a big challenge for us, which will give us extra motivation to be more focused and ready to play a tough game".
"We are riding good momentum towards this game, which is key for us as we want to build on what we've been doing thus far", Added the Yellow & Blue captain John DiBartolomeo. "Zenit is a very good team, they've started very well, so we know it will be a challenge tomorrow. It's going to start with defense, they're a very talented team on both ends of the floor as we'll do our best to counter and put our stamp on the game with our style".
"We can get better and be one of the top teams in the EuroLeague once we get close to our potential because you can always get better as a team", Stated Scottie Wilbekin about the team's potential. "We still have ways to go, but we're trying to get a little bit better in each practice, each game, and I think it's showing good signs for us".
"This team is no stranger to having people out, we've been doing it for a year and a half, so we just got to keep doing it. We just have to keep playing our game, find people when they're in a position to score, and try to get the most out of each player".