After getting off the mark in the Euroleague Top 16 last week, Maccabi Tel Aviv
visits Khimki Moscow on Friday, looking to boost its hopes of progressing to the
quarterfinals with a road win.
Maccabi defeated Fenerbahce Ulker 91-73 at
Nokia Arena last Thursday to improve to 1-2 in Group F and kick-start its
campaign after two consecutive setbacks.
However, it is aiming to achieve
on Thursday something no other team in the Euroleague has managed this season,
with Khimki a perfect 6-0 at home to date.
The Russians beat the likes of
Real Madrid and Panathinaikos in the regular season before getting the better of
Barcelona in Moscow two weeks ago.
Khimki suffered its first loss of the
Top 16 at Montepaschi Seina last week (82- 76), but will nevertheless enter
Friday’s encounter as the favorite.
“We are facing a very strong team
which has grown to become a dominant force in Europe over recent years,” said
Maccabi coach David Blatt. “They have lots of talent and ambition and their
results show that. They have yet to lose at home this season and this is a real
challenge for us. However, we are ready and as always are aiming to return with
Khimki’s star-studded roster, which was considering striking this
week after not being paid in a timely manner, is led by Zoran Planinic, who is
averaging 13.3 points and 5.8 assists per game, scoring in double figures in 11
of his last 12 Euroleague encounters.
“David Blatt is a very clever, wise and skillful coach,” said Khimki coach Rimas
“He uses a lot of tactical changes and practices different
defenses. In attack he uses fast-breaks and likes pick and
“You can’t prepare one scheme against Maccabi because you have to
respond to all the changes during the game.”