Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv hosts Anadolu Efes on Tuesday evening (19:30, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55) in Menora Mivtachim Arena as part of a Round 23 makeup game. For the first time this season, 1000 Yellow & Blue supporters will push Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad, hoping to stay alive in the playoff hunt against the Turkish team who's been in top form, winning seven consecutive games (25.2 points average margin of victory).
These teams have faced each other 19 times since 2000, as history presents a slim 10:9 Turkish lead in the head-to-head battles between the two clubs. In the last meeting between the two sides, Maccabi dropped a thriller in Istanbul 89:91 to Anadolu Efes after the game produced numerous lead changes, but a bucket by Beaubois and a crucial turnover secured a Turkish victory.
"Tomorrow will be a big challenge for us against a very talented team, Anadolu has a quality squad, and these days, they are playing their best basketball this season", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos about the opponent. "We need to be very aggressive, fight hard in every aspect of the game, and be ready to disorganize their game. Offensively, find a smart way to attack the defense they show us and not turn the ball over because they can punish quickly״.
״We want to fight for our chances and show it on the court, and as the coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, I'll do my best, even if mathematically we have a very slim chance to qualify, to fight in all games. For us, it's vital to play with dignity until the end".
Dragan Bender spoke towards the tough matchup: "They are in a really good place right now, playing basketball at a high level having strong guards who've been playing really well this season. It's going to be a challenge for us, but we are playing at home in front of our fans, and that gives us extra juice. We are looking forward to that challenge".
"It's going to be difficult stopping them, with the way they've been playing, winning 7 in a row. We will need to do our best as a team to prevent fastbreaks, limiting their scoring, and see what we can do on the offensive end", Told Scottie Wilbekin. "We are excited to play against them because they are among the best EuroLeague teams these days. The season is coming to an end with only a few games left, and we are trying to get as many wins as we can to give ourselves any chance to see if we can make the playoffs".