EA7 Milano will look to bounce back from their loss to Crvena Zvezda last week when they play host to Fenerbahce in the fashion capital on Thursday night.
The Italian giants are currently 4-4 entering Thursday’s encounter against a Fenerbahce side who ended a three-game slide last week against local rivals Anadolu Efes. Milano guard Ricky Hickman, who faces his old club knows that last season’s EuroLeague runners-up will be tough opposition for the full 40 minutes.
“There’s no single recipe to defeat one of the stronger teams in Europe like Fenerbahce,” he said. “However, everything starts from our need to match their intensity at all times, from tip-off to the final buzzer, and play with energy and focused for 40 minutes.”
Milano however have the third best offensive record in the EuroLeague thus far, something that Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic knows too well.
“They have many possibilities to change the game playing with different line-ups,” Obradovic commented. “So the absolute key to the game for us will be how we react defensively. We must stop their transition game, be focused for 40 minutes and expect a very difficult game.”
∞∞∞ OLYMPIACOS AND MACCABI MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2013 ∞∞∞
Two EuroLeague heavyweights and recent champions lock horns on Thursday as Olympiacos houses Maccabi fox Tel Aviv for the first time in three years.
They split a pair of Top 16 road wins in the 2012-13 season, the year that Olympiacos claimed their second straight title in London. Vassilis Spanoulis scored 24 and Georgios Printezis 16 in the Reds’ 78-77 victory in Tel Aviv. The year after that, Maccabi scooped the crown in a memorable Final Four championship game against Real Madrid in Milan.
Fast forward to the present day and Maccabi, who have struggled with injuries find themselves stumped on a 4-4 record while Olympiacos are 5-3.
“It’s a very important game against a strong team with a defensive mentality and a strong team spirit,” said Maccabi coach Rami Hadar. “It’s clear that a win in a game like this will be a statement on our part. We’ll have to defend Spanoulis well. Everyone knows how important he is and we’ll do our best to keep him out of the game.”
∞∞∞ RED STAR LOOK TO CONTINUE SOLID AWAY FORM ∞∞∞
For a team that in recent years have not fared well on the road, Crvena Zvezda have secured two away wins in the four played so far. They travel to Istanbul on Thursday where they play struggling Anadolu Efes.
The Turkish side own a 3-5 record after their trip to the Asian side of Istanbul ended in defeat last week but will fancy their chances against the Serbian champions.
“We have to protect our home court against Crvena Zvezda,” Anadolu Efes’ Derrick Brown said. “We also must have a better defensive display. I hope that we will have a good fan support and we want to be the winning team.”
Red Star are currently locked at 4-4 heading into the match.
∞∞∞ TWO MORE GAMES ON THE CARD ∞∞∞
Second placed Real Madrid host third from bottom Unics Kazan on Thursday night as the Spanish team will aim to build on their 39-point thumping of Barcelona last week.
In the two games that these teams have had, it is split at 1-1, but the sole victory Real got over their Russian counterparts was at the Barclaycard Center.
And in a battle of the EuroLeague’s basement teams, Brose Baskets will look to improve and play for a full 40 minutes when they travel to Kaunas to face Zalgiris.
Both sides own 2-6 records and will be desperate to climb up the table, with a win here for both sides mandatory.