Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Jeremy Pargo.
(photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)
With the historic defeat to Hapoel Jerusalem still fresh in their minds, Maccabi Tel Aviv players look to vent their frustrations at the expense of Cedevita Zagreb at Nokia Arena on Thursday night.
Maccabi suffered its heaviest-ever defeat in local action after falling to a 93-63 loss in Jerusalem on Sunday. However, it entered that showdown brimming with confidence following an impressive 84-69 Euroleague road win over Alba Berlin, and unlike previous years, there was no knee-jerk reaction at the club to the painful BSL loss.
“It was an unpleasant humiliation, but that happens and we will correct our mistakes,” said captain Guy Pnini. “We didn’t play well and we didn’t expect to lose like that. We recorded a big win in Berlin and maybe we entered the game in Jerusalem slightly overconfident. The loss to Jerusalem will not have any long-term effects. It is just another league game and there is still a long way to go in the season.”
Tel Aviv will be hoping for another strong performance by the trio that is shaping up to be the core of this season’s team.
Brian Randle (17.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Devin Smith (14.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and Jeremy Pargo (14.0 ppg, 8.0 apg) are the team’s top three scorers in the Euroleague so far this season as well as leading the side in minutes per game.
Maccabi will be an overwhelming favorite on Thursday, with Cedevita’s all-Croatian squad (apart from one Bosnian) entering the encounter at 0-3. Zagreb has already lost two home games, although it did give CSKA a run for its money last week before falling 76-72.
“We have nothing to lose in this game,” said guard Fran Pilepic. “We should try to play like we played against CSKA, but in that game we played at home and now we play in Tel Aviv.
Maccabi won the Euroleague title last season, but they made some roster changes during the summer and I believe we have a chance. After playing well against CSKA, we showed our quality in the ABA League by defeating MZT Skopje on their home court.”