NEWCOMER JOE INGLES 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
After seemingly turning a corner last week, Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to
continue and build some more momentum when it visits Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in
the Euroleague on Thursday night.
Maccabi outplayed Lokomotiv Kuban on
the way to a 73- 58 win in Russia last Friday to improve to 2-1 in Euroleague
Group D before getting back to winning ways and moving to 2-2 in the BSL with an
85-74 victory at Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Monday.
Another road win in
Lithuania on Thursday night will truly turn Maccabi’s early season struggles
into a distant memory, but Vilnius is just as desperate for a victory after
dropping to 1-2 last week with a humbling 85-64 home defeat to Laboral
Vilnius was also out of its league in the 68-53 loss at Kuban
the previous week, but it did stun Panathinaikos in its opener and Maccabi coach
David Blatt wants his team to be ready for Rytas’ best on
“Rytas has a lot of weapons and has played some excellent
basketball among some erratic play,” Blatt said. “That characterizes many teams
at this early stage of the season. We are playing better, but we are still not
where we want to be.”
Martynas Gecevicius leads the team in scoring in
the Euroleague after three games, averaging just 10.7 points, with veterans
Darius Songaila (10.0 ppg) and Omar Cook (9.7 ppg) not far behind.
the first few weeks of the season we played very well and won 10 games in a
row,” said Vilnius coach Dirk Bauermann.
“Now we are going through a hard
time. We must look at ourselves and start playing better
Maccabi’s difficulties in the BSL so far can largely be
explained by the absence of Devin Smith, who has sat out all four of the team’s
encounters in local action to rest his knee ahead of Euroleague
However, Smith should soon be ready to play twice a week and
is in a confident mood ahead of Thursday.
“We need to consistently bring
the right mentality and we need to be aggressive for the whole 40 minutes of the
game,” he said. “We’re going into this game with the right mentality, and we
want to come back with the win.”