Mac TA looks to stay perfect vs. Chalon-Sur-Saone

Yellow-and-blue comes in as solid favorite in Euroleague matchup against French champion.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Malcolm Thomas 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Malcolm Thomas 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
There were very few similarities between Maccabi Tel Aviv’s first two Euroleague games of the season.
However, Maccabi coach David Blatt will not be too concerned about that considering the outcome of both games was identical, with the yellow-and-blue claiming wins against its main rivals in Group B to open its campaign 2-0.
Tel Aviv snatched a 70-68 victory over Montepaschi Siena at Nokia Arena last week thanks to a Ricky Hickman basket with four seconds to play, outscoring the Italians 8-0 in the final two minutes.
Maccabi failed to repeat its impressive showing from the previous week’s road victory over Unicaja Malaga, but it still managed to win its Euroleague home opener for a 14th straight season, a week after triumphing in its road opener in the competition for the first time since 2004.
It should therefore come as little surprise that Maccabi enters Thursday night’s encounter at Euroleague debutant Chalon-Sur-Saone as a firm favorite.
Chalon claimed its first-ever French championship last season and just missed out on opening its Euroleague campaign 2-0, being edged 74-71 at Alba Berlin last week after beating Prokom Gdynia in its opener.
“We’re full of ambition as we head out to what will be a tough away game.” said Blatt.
“We’re well aware that Chalon is a strong team at home and is coming off wins in the French League.
“The feeling within the team is that we’re up for any challenge.
“We know that if we play right, and play with all our heart, we can do it.”
The undoubted leader of Chalon is point guard Steed Tchicamboud, who is averaging 18 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game, playing a Euroleague high 37:58 minutes per contest.
Besides the French playmaker, Chalon is dependent on the play of three Americans, forward Blake Schilb (13.5 ppg, 4 apg, 4 rpg), guard Brion Rush (12 ppg) and center Shelden Williams (11 ppg, 11 rpg).
While three of Chalon’s players average more than 32 minutes on court through the team’s first two encounters, David Logan leads Maccabi with just 30:40 minutes per game.
Logan has settled quickly at the club, as have fellow new boys Ricky Hickman and Malcolm Thomas.
Sylven Landesberg is one of the yellow-and-blue’s new names who have yet to make a real impression, but that has done nothing to dampen his enthusiasm ahead of Thursday’s game.
“Coach told us that they’re a very good team; we can’t sleep on them,” said Landesberg.
“We’ve just got to come prepared, so we’ve been working hard and just trying to get ready for this game.
“We need to continue playing good defense, and we need to just continue to finish on offense, executing our plays and finishing our opportunities when we get them.”