Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems was limited to just six points last night, but four of his points came in the final two minutes, helping the yellow-and-blue to a 74-73 win at Unics Kazan..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
On the back of three consecutive confidence-boosting wins, Maccabi Tel Aviv aims to move above .500 in the Euroleague for the first time this season when it visits Olympiacos in Athens on Thursday.
Two wins in three days last week saw Maccabi improve to 4-4 in the Euroleague, with an impressive 87-77 victory over Fenerbahce Istanbul being followed by a nervy 74-73 triumph at Unics Kazan.
The yellow-and-blue continued to build momentum with an 85-83 win over Hapoel Jerusalem on Sunday to improve to 6-1 in the BSL, but faces a challenge of a completely different magnitude in Greece.
“The win against Jerusalem was important from a morale standpoint and for continuity,” said Maccabi coach Rami Hadar, with the yellowand- blue snapping a five-game losing streak to Hapoel stretching back to last season. “I hope we can build on this display against Olympiacos.”
Olympiacos also won both its Euroleague games last week, improving to 5-3 by beating Barcelona at home and Panathinaikos in the derby.
Maccabi has already lost to both Barcelona and Panathinaikos this season. Tel Aviv can, however, draw some encouragement from coming tantalizingly close to defeating Panathinaikos in Athens two weeks ago, squandering a late lead before losing in overtime.
Vassilis Spanoulis (15.6 ppg) and Georgios Printezis (12.6) lead Olympiacos, with the former also ranked third in the competition in assists with 7.5 per game.
Olympiacos leads the Euroleague with 37.8 rebounds per game, with Maccabi only 10th with 33.3. Tel Aviv won twice last week despite not having its leading scorer, Andrew Goudelock (17.7 ppg), who returned to action in the game against Jerusalem, scoring 11 points in 22 minutes.
Maccabi also managed to win in Kazan despite only receiving six points from Sonny Weems, who is averaging 14.7 per game and has looked reinvigorated since the sacking of Erez Edelstein.
“We still have a long way to go, but our confidence is growing and we are beginning to play like a unit,” said Weems. “We have become a team, which we weren’t at the start of the season, and that is why this time we beat Jerusalem.”