After winning its Euroleague road opener for the first time since 2004 last
week, Maccabi Tel Aviv hopes to extend a streak rather than end one on Thursday
night when it hosts Montepaschi Siena at Nokia Arena.
Maccabi has not
lost its Euroleague home opener in 14 years and enters Thursday’s showdown in a
confident mood after its promising performance at Unicaja Malaga last
Despite bringing in seven new players in the summer, five of them
without Euroleague experience, David Blatt’s team displayed flair and character
in Spain, with almost all of the new faces looking surprisingly settled with the
Ricky Hickman and David Logan were two of the team’s
top scorers, combining for 30 points, while youngsters Malcolm Thomas and Sylven
Landesberg made crucial contributions off the bench.
Yogev Ohayon also
showed no lasting effects from the off-season saga which almost saw him leave
the club and played a big role in the win together with fellow Israelis Lior
Eliyahu and Guy Pnini.
Maccabi built on the win in Malaga with an 88-82
victory over Hapoel Jerusalem in its BSL opener on Sunday, but Blatt was as
cautious as ever on Wednesday ahead of the clash with Siena.
facing a team with a lot of talent which has yet to gel and find the right
balance,” Blatt said. “Siena is going through a mini-crisis and is hoping to
break out of it against us. We need to make sure we are fully focused because
this is not going to be an easy game.”
Siena completely overhauled its
roster in the summer, but perhaps the biggest change of all was made on the
sidelines where Luca Banchi took over from longtime coach Simone
Siena won the Italian championship in each of the past six
years, but it is still looking for its way this season.
With just four of
the team’s rotation players remaining for another season and Pianigiani taking
star playmaker Bo McCalebb with him to Fenerbahce, it is little surprise Siena
has gotten the season off to a far from impressive start.
suffered a surprise 92-82 home defeat to Alba Berlin in their Euroleague opener
last week and lost a second straight game after falling 74- 67 to Varese in
local league play on Monday.
“We are about to face a very tough game
against one of the best teams in Europe, which was able to get off on the right
foot with the win in Malaga and is now one of the favorites in our group,”
Banchi said. “In regards to our team we will take this game as a very important
one because we want to improve our efficiency against such a competitive team
and in front of one of the most evocative arenas in this competition.
will play 40 minutes of high intensity basketball and we want to face them with
a good and strong attitude and leadership in order to keep up with one of the
best rosters in the Euroleague.”
After struggling to find his place at
Caja Laboral Vitoria and Panathinaikos in the past two seasons, Logan has looked
like a rejuvenated player over recent weeks and the American guard is optimistic
Maccabi will continue its impressive start to the season on Thursday.
am playing well so far,” Logan said.
“This group has been working for me
and it has helped me a lot. They are all talented players and they play very
We all know it will be very difficult to play a game against Siena
but we are playing at home. I think it will turn out okay for us.”