Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv's players made their way separately to a charter flight that shuttled them to their matchup against Crvena Zvezda Mts Belgrade as part of the 28th EuroLeague fixture (Friday, 20:00, live on Sport5 - channel 55). The squad comes in encouraged after the big victory over the first-place team Anadolu Efes which secured Maccabi its first playoff run since 2015.
The Yellow & Blue stand in fourth place, holding a 19:8 record, while CSKA Moscow is in fifth trailing by one game, 18:9. Earlier this season, Maccabi beat the Reds from the Russian capital in Menorah Mivtachim Arena as there is still one more matchup in the Megasport Arena against Dimitris Itoudis squad.
The importance of the game against Crvena Belgrade is a crucial one for the Yellow & Blue as they try to secure home-court advantage for the EuroLeague quarterfinals. In round 3 earlier this season, Maccabi defeated the Serbian squad 84:69 after a late drama in the final minutes of regulation, which led the game into overtime. Giannis Sfairopoulos's team dominated in the next five minutes, 17:2 to guarantee the victory. Scottie Wilbekin led all Maccabi scorers with 16 points, Omri Casspi and Nate Wolters added 15 each.
"It's an unusual situation because we are dealing with something that is not in our hands. We get orders and restrictions from the Israeli government and health department, so we follow their commands", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos about the trip to Serbia. "As for the game, Red Star is especially dangerous at their home court, and in comparison to the first matchup against them, they have changed with a lot of new players. We need to stay focused, play with energy because, especially in back to back games, you need to be mentally prepared to play a tough game".
Yovel Zoosman added towards the matchup against the Serbian squad: "It's going to be a dog fight - a very aggressive and tough game in a loud atmosphere, and we are coming to battle".