Basketball: Maccabi TA in New York to play the Knicks

Israeli team hoping to improve on the five losses it suffered against North American sides last year.

By
October 10, 2007 05:34
2 minute read.
Basketball: Maccabi TA in New York to play the Knicks

mac TA knicks 298.88. (photo credit: Courtesy )

 
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Maccabi Tel Aviv arrived in New York on Tuesday afternoon ahead of its exhibition game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. All proceeds from the game will go to the American Friends of Migdal Ohr, an organization that provides a shelter and education for over 6,500 abused, impoverished and orphaned children in Israel. The yellow-and-blue, which opens the Euroleague season on October 25 against Le Mans at the Nokia Arena, will be playing its 18th game against an NBA franchise and will be hoping to improve on the five losses it suffered against North American sides last year. "There's something very special about the Garden. The arena is a type of Mecca," Maccabi coach Oded Katash said on Tuesday of the Knicks' home arena. "Obviously it will be very exciting to play in New York, but we will try and play positive basketball and enjoy the atmosphere. From what I've heard it's going to be crazy." Maccabi became the first European basketball team to defeat an NBA side in North America two years ago, beating the Toronto Raptors 105-103. That, however, was the team's only win in its 13 games against NBA sides since 1988. "Our aim is to win in New York. Why else would we go?" new Maccabi guard Vonteego Cummings said. "I can't guarantee a victory, but if we will do what the coach asks us and stick to our game plan we will be alright." New forward Terence Morris said: "Anybody who loves basketball wants to play in the Garden. I've played there before, but this is still exciting." Marcus Fizer has the most NBA experience among Maccabi players. "I think I'm the least excited to be playing in the Garden,"Fizer commented. "I hope we can continue to display the basketball we've shown so far and continue our progress." On Monday, New York's biggest offseason acquisition, Zach Randolph, scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the Knicks' 101-92 victory over Philadelphia as both teams opened preseason play. Most of New York's headlines the past month were of the salacious variety during coach's Isiah Thomas' civil trial. Last week he was found guilty of sexually harassing a former Knicks executive with a jury awarding damages of $11.6 million. Immediately after the verdict, Thomas left New York to join his players at training camp in Charleston and was clearly focused on improving his team's performance upon his arrival. Randolph could help the struggling Knicks a lot this season. He averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds for Portland last year. The Knicks traded Steve Francis and Channing Frye to the Trail Blazers in a draft-night deal for the 6-foot-9 Randolph. New York also got Fred Jones and Dan Dickau, who has since been waived. Randolph showed his worth quickly against the 76ers. He hit consecutive outside jumpers as New York led 11-5. Randolph made his next three shots and the Knicks took a 40-28 lead. Thomas had hoped to see Randolph and last year's top scorer, Eddy Curry, paired on the front line. But Curry went back to New York after an MRI revealed a labral tear in his right shoulder. David Lee led the Knicks with 18 points, with Andre Miller scoring 17 points for Philadelphia. AP contributed to this report.

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