Galatasaray host Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Tuesday night in a game that promises to be an all-out war to keep their glimmer of hopes alive for a place in the Playoffs.
The hosts, who are stuck at the bottom of the table need to start racking the wins and fast, whereas Maccabi are third from bottom and are light years removed from their 2014 EuroLeague triumph.
Galatasaray coach Ergin Ataman still remembers when these two sides last met in Tel Aviv with Maccabi walking way with a 98-92 win thanks to 22 points from Sonny Weems.
“We played good basketball against Maccabi in the first half of the season but we lost the game in the last minutes,” Ataman recalls. “Now we wil try to win here in Abdi Ipekci. We are evaluating the remaining games game by game. Maccabi has strong offensive weapons like Goudelock, Weems and DJ Seely. They have very talented and athletic players. We took precautions against them and have no injuries. We will play to win tomorrow.”
∞∞∞ ZALGIRIS WELCOMES THE CHAMPIONS TO KAUNAS ∞∞∞
A week removed from giving Real Madrid a run for their money but falling just short, Zalgiris this time welcomes reigning champions CSKA Moscow to Kaunas.
The Lithuanian side, who are currently 13th in the table are still searching for their first ever win against the Russian powerhouse with Tuesday’s game being the 18th try. The last time the two sides met was in Moscow where CSKA walked away with a 95-86 win.
“I expect it to be a tough game,” CSKA’s James Augustine said. “They play well at home and they gave us a serious fight in Megasport. We will be ready to match their aggressiveness and intensity.”
CSKA will want to keep their recent good form up – after losing three games in a row – they bounced back to beat EA7 Milano and Brose Bamberg in convincing fashion.
∞∞∞ A LEGENDARY RIVALRY WITH CONTRASTING RECORDS ∞∞∞
Panathinaikos and Barcelona will do battle in Athens with both sides strangely sitting at separate ends of the EuroLeague table.
The Greens sit proudly in sixth place, while Barcelona lay in ninth, two wins outside the Playoff places.
“Of course, every game is important,” said Barcelona’s Victor Faverani. “We are Barcelona and we have to win all games. We have to step up if we want to beat Panathinaikos in Athens. I will give my all to help the team win that game.”
∞∞∞ THE HOTTEST TEAM MEETS THE UNMOVABLE HOME SIDE ∞∞∞
Crvena Zvezda, owners of five-game winning streak ravel to Vitoria on Tuesday night to face Baskonia, who in their own right are owners of one of the EuroLeague’s best home record over the last two seasons.
The Liga Endesa side and a participant in last season’s Final Four have only tasted defeat twice in the last two EuroLeague campaigns. If there is a side to make the Vitoria side stutter at home, it’s Red Star.
“Baskonia is a great team, they have played very well in this EuroLeague season so far,” said Red Star coach Dejan Radonjic.
“They beat us in Belgrade and deserved that win. We will travel to Vitoria without an important player in our rotation, Nemanja Dangubic, but like always, we want to play well, hard and to try to earn good result in Vitoria.”
∞∞∞ UNICS EYEING DOUBLE OVER FENERBAHCE ∞∞∞
Unics Kazan where the early season strugglers. They were 0-4 when they visited Istanbul’s Ulker Sports Arena to face a 4-0 Fenerbahce side with many people seeing nothing but a home win.
The Russian side shocked the EuroLeague as 28 points and 10 rebounds by Keith Langford secured an 83-71 win, handing Fenerbahce their first loss of the season. And now Unics Kazan have the chance to secure the double over their Turkish counterparts at the Basket Hall.
Kazan coach Evgeny Pashutin though knows that Fenerbahce are one of the elite teams in the EuroLeague and that his side need to be on top form like they were in round five back in Istanbul.
“This is a team built to be in the Final Four again,” he said. “Zeljko Obradovic is a famous coach. There are two top players on each position. Our task is to be concentrated all 40 minutes and keep fighting.
“We defended well in the last games, but it is necessary to be better. We need to be aggressive at home not breaking the rules, we need to press the player with the ball, that they feel the resistance. We must not let them attack from open positions because all their shooters have a high percentage of three pointers about 45-50 percent.
“And, of course, we will prepare for fighting under the baskets. And in offense we need to play with all the team, not individually. We need to punish the rival for their mistakes. Fenerbahce is a motivation for all our team.”