Jordan Farmar 311 bball R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to bounce back from its humbling home defeat to
Hapoel Jerusalem when it hosts Olimpia Milano in Euroleague action at Nokia
Arena on Thursday night.
The 78-64 BSL loss to Jerusalem on Sunday was
just Maccabi’s second in 20 games in all competitions this season, snapping the
yellow-and-blue’s 11- game winning streak.
Tel Aviv hadn’t lost a game
since it dropped its Euroleague regular season opener at Milano, but four
straight continental wins since have given it sole possession of first place in
Group C and means it can already effectively clinch its place in the
competition’s Top 16 with a victory over the Italians on Thursday.
averaging 88.9 points in its first 17 games of the season, Maccabi’s form took a
significant dip in its three games over four days last weekend, posting just
66.7 points in that busy stretch.
Maccabi has misfired from beyond the
arc from the start of the campaign, but until its last three games it more than
made up for scoring the fewest three-pointers in the Euroleague so far this
season (22 of 80, 27.5 percent) by hitting a high percentage of its twopoint
However, after scoring at least 70 points in each of its first
17 games, Maccabi failed to pass that mark in all three of its encounters last
weekend, netting just 43.6 percent of its shots from twopoint
While the toll of playing three games in four days and the fact
that Jordan Farmar didn’t take part in the last two surely played a factor in
Maccabi’s offensive struggles, coach David Blatt refuses to overlook his team’s
“This was our first experience this season of playing
three games in four days and it makes sense that the last of the games against
Jerusalem was our worst of the campaign,” Blatt said.
there is no excuse for our performance against Jerusalem and I’m clearly worried
about our inability to score. We are getting open shots but our players are just
missing. I’m not sure of the reason, but we have shooters who can score and they
“It is important that we recover mentally and physically
from last weekend,” he added. “We are going to have some setbacks this season,
but we need to make sure we become a better team for them.”
defeating Maccabi 89-82, Milano has lost three of four Euroleague games,
including twice at home against Efes Istanbul and Partizan Belgrade last
The Italians suffered a monumental meltdown against Partizan,
dropping a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Malik Hairston and Danilo
Gallinari scored 25 and 23 points, respectively, against Maccabi, but neither
has managed to repeat that performance in Milano’s four European games
With just two wins at the midway point of the regular season,
Sergio Scariolo’s squad is in danger of missing out on the Top 16 and the
Italian coach knows his team will have to be at its very best to get its
campaign back on track in Tel Aviv.
“In the strongest group of the
Euroleague regular season every game is a tough battle,” he said.
road we have played some good games, but with the wrong final result. In Tel
Aviv we will have to play an almost perfect game and we must try to control both
our nerves and the rhythm of the game.”
Although Milano is ranked last in
three point accuracy (25.7 percent), steals (3.2) and offensive rebounds (7) in
the Euroleague this season, and is second to last in assists (11), Maccabi has
already been burned once by the struggling Italians and has no intention of
suffering at their hands for a second time, especially on the back of the defeat
“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Maccabi center Shawn
James, who has played an increased role off the bench for Tel Aviv in recent
“They beat us in Italy in Week 1, but now we’re at home and we’re
going to do everything we need to win. In the last game, against Jerusalem, we
didn’t shoot well enough, but I believe we’ll do better against Milano. We’re
not dwelling on the loss in the BSL, we’re going to be ready and focused for the
game against Milano.
“It’s a really long season, and it’s impossible to
win every single game.
The busy schedule doesn’t bother us, we just need to play better and harder.”