Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Panathinaikos in Greece on Wednesday in the first of three Euroleague games over the next week that could go a long to determining the direction in which the yellow-and-blue’s continental campaign heads.
Maccabi fell to a 2-3 record with last week’s comprehensive 79-69 home loss to Barcelona. The Euroleague regular season consists of 30 games in 2016/17, but Tel Aviv can scarcely afford to further complicate its situation by digging itself into an early hole.
Maccabi hosts one of the competition’s favorites in Fenerbahce Istanbul next Tuesday before facing Unics Kazan in Russia 48 hours later. It has also got a BSL game against Bnei Herzliya to contend with on Saturday.
Tel Aviv will not be looking too far ahead though, with the showdown against its old rival in Athens its only focus on Wednesday.
Panathinaikos has a 3-2 record after losing on the road to Anadolu Efes Istanbul in overtime last week, the team’s first defeat since new coach Xavi Pascual took over. K.C. Rivers leads Panathinaikos in scoring (12.6 ppg), with Nick Calathes averaging 12.4 points, as well as leading the team in rebounds (6.8), assists (7.6, second in the Euroleague) and steals (1.8, third in the Euroleague).
Maccabi will be without the injured Sylven Landesberg and the sick Gal Mekel on Thursday, meaning it will depend even more than usual on the trio of Andrew Goudelock (18.4 ppg), Devin Smith (15.0 ppg) and Sonny Weems (15.0 ppg), who account for more than half of the team’s fourthranked 86.6 points per game.
“We are entering this game in a good situation and we understand its significance,” insisted Maccabi coach Rami Hadar.
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