Mac Tel Aviv aiming for back-to-back wins

Maccabi Tel Aviv will host Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius of Lithuania on Thursday night.

mac ta basketball 88 (photo credit: )
mac ta basketball 88
(photo credit: )
Maccabi Tel Aviv will host Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius of Lithuania on Thursday night, aiming to win consecutive Euroleague gamesa for the first time this season. Tel Aviv has a 3-2 record, winning and losing their games alternately. Maccabi has yet to impress in Euroleague play, with last week's win against AJ Milano a prime example of the yellow and-blues troubles. Tel Aviv led by nine points going into the final quarter, but crucial free throw misses by key players meant the Italians fought their way back into the game, eventually losing 96-95 after double overtime. Lietuvos Rytas come to the game on a three game win streak, which includes an away win against Barcelona and last weeks surprising blowout in Istanbul 72-51 against previously unbeaten Efes Pilsen. Maccabi, who are the Euroleagues highest scoring team (88 points per game), face the Lithuanians who boast one of the best defenses in the league, allowing only 68.4 points per game. Tel Aviv will need to impose their style of play against their opponents or they could find themselves in a tight game once more. One more key battle will be under the baskets. The Lithuanians have won every game in which they outrebounded the opposition and a win in this key battle against Maccabi, who are the Euroleagues leading defensive reboundind team, will give Lietuvos Rytas a fighting chance. Robertas Javtokes (9 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Matt Neilsen (8.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg) will do battle with Nikola Vujcic (12.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 6apg) and Maceo Baston (10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) for supremacy in the paint. Lietuvos Rytas will hope to get the standard contribution from the backcourt with Guards Roberts Stelmahers (10.6 ppg, 3.8 apg), Simas Jasaitis (9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Fred House (12 ppg, 2 steals) the key names from which Maccabi will need to watch out for. One of the games key match ups will be between House and last seasons Euroleague MVP Anthony Parker (11.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.6 apg). House was one of the best players in last years ULEB Cup and he will have a chance to prove himself against one of the Euroleagues best in Parker. Despite the Lithuanians excellent away form, Maccabi, who has only lost one of its last 21 home games are firm favorites to extend their 10 game home win streak and stay in touch with first spot in the group.