Maccabi Tel Av iv guard D.J. Seeley is set to be handed a bigger role than usual against Olympiacos in Euroleague action tonight, with the yellow-andblue having just eight fit senior players.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv has barely managed to win Euroleague games with a full roster this season, but on Thursday it will try and do so with just eight fit senior players when it hosts Olympiacos at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
Veteran forward Devin Smith avoided a serious injury after hobbling out of Monday’s BSL win over Maccabi Haifa, but he is still set to be out for up to two weeks with an ankle sprain. The yellow-and-blue’s top scorer Andrew Goudelock is also still out with an ankle complaint after missing the game against Haifa and last week’s Euroleague defeat at CSKA Moscow.
With Joe Alexander and Quincy Miller also missing through injuries, Maccabi coach Ainars Bagatskis will have few options against Olympiacos, which is third in the standings with a 16-7 record but will be without star playmaker Vassilis Spanoulis.
Maccabi is in 13th place out of 16 teams with an 8-15 record, winning only three of its past 14 games. Tel Aviv is four games back of a place in the top eight, who will progress to the quarterfinal playoffs, with seven regular season games still to play.
Maccabi added two players to its depleted roster on Wednesday, signing American Diamon Simpson for the remainder of the Euroleague campaign and young Israeli Nimrod Levy, who was released from Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Neither is expected to play on Thursday.
“Simpson isn’t here to save us, he is here to help us,” said Bagatskis.
Maccabi registered its most impressive win of the Euroleague season in its last meeting with Olympiacos, claiming an 80-73 victory in Athens to improve to a 5-4 record at the time. The yellow-and-blue’s campaign unraveled with nine losses from 10 games after that, but it will be hoping to at least avoid another home loss in front of the loyal fans on Thursday.
“Olympiacos is one of the strongest teams in the competition,” said Bagatskis. “If we don’t play aggressively and rebound well we will have problems.”
In other basketball news, Hapoel Jerusalem strengthened its roster on Wednesday with the signing of Aviram Zelikovic. The 27-year-old forward left Bnei Herzliya after a frustrating season and will only play for Jerusalem in the BSL, bolstering the roster’s Israeli core.
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