Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv visits Barcelona on Friday night as part of the 15th EuroLeague fixture of the 2020/21 season (22:00, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55). The 5:9 Yellow & Blue team looks for a quick turnaround after the road defeat to Villeurbanne as Omri Casspi, who sat out on Wednesday, is expected to return to Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad.
"We play against the number one team in the standings", said coach Giannis Sfairopoulos ahead of the game. "Barcelona, especially in their home court, are playing with high intensity on both ends of the court. We have to be concentrated for 40 minutes and to adjust to their speed. We need to follow the plan and play smart on both ends of the court".
"The last game was a tough loss but we need to put it behind us and get ready for one of the toughest teams in the EuroLeague this year as we continue with the double week", Scottie Wilbekin told maccabi.co.il. "Barcelona is a team with so many weapons and it's our job to stop them and excute on offense".
Sarunas Jasikevicius's unit seems to be one of the most challenging hurdles this season, leading the standings with an impressive 11:3 record while on their home court, the Spanish squad holds an 87.5% win rate.
Barcelona's roster is stacked with top EuroLeague talents such as Nikola Mirotic, Nick Calathes, Brandon Davis, Cory Higgins, and some of the strongest supporting casts seen in recent years. Barcelona showed their full potential multiple times this season, defeating Alba Berlin on the road by 36 points as they responded the next gameday with a higher outcome, beating Fenerbahce by 42 points.
Friday's contest will be the team's 44th head-to-head matchup over the years. Barcelona holds a 27:16 record, and since the start of the EuroLeague in 2000, Barca leads 16:9 and 11:1 in Spain. The last game between the two was in Menora Mivtachim Arena as Maccabi won 92:85. Tyler Dorsey (19 points) and Scottie Wilbekin (18 points) had an impressive three-point shooting night, while Angelo Caloiaro and Yovel Zoosman played great on the defensive end.