Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Norris Cole.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Exactly two months have passed since Maccabi Tel Aviv last won a Euroleague road game. The yellow- and-blue has since dropped to four straight continental defeats away from home, all by double digits, falling at Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos and Real Madrid by an average 15.5 points per contest.
With that in mind, Maccabi faces what is widely regarded as one of the toughest road games in the competition on Tuesday, visiting Olympiacos in Athens. Maccabi will first and foremost try to be competitive against the Greeks, something it has barely managed away from Yad Eliyahu Arena over the past couple of months.
Olympiacos has won seven of eight games at the Peace and Friendship Arena, only losing to arch-rival Panathinaikos.
Maccabi guard Norris Cole is set to return from injury on Tuesday, with forward Deshaun Thomas to continue his comeback after only playing 13 minutes during last week’s 90-88 win over Brose Bamberg.
That was long enough for Thomas to score the go-ahead basket with 1:26 minutes to play after Pierre Jackson had netted seven points during the previous two minutes to erase a sixpoint gap single-handedly.
Maccabi will be without forward Jonah Bolden, who suffered an ankle sprain last Thursday. Bolden didn’t travel with the team, remaining in Israel to undergo treatment in the hope of being fit for Thursday’s game against Red Star Belgrade at Yad Eliyahu.
Maccabi sits in seventh place in the standings, tied at 9-8 with eighthplaced Khimki Moscow. Baskonia Vitoria is one game back, with Unicaja Malaga and Red Star two games out of the playoff spots.
Olympiacos is tied for second place with a 12-5 record, but is coming off its worst defeat of the campaign, being thrashed 86-54 at Baskonia.
“In this league with so many games everything is possible,” said Maccabi coach Neven Spahija, whose team lost 69-68 to Olympiacos when the teams met in Tel Aviv back in October.
“Olympiacos will be back to itself no matter what happened in the previous game.”