Maccabi guard Will Solomon will hope to lead Tel-Aviv to a win against his former team.
By ALLON SINAI
Maccabi Tel Aviv looks to go top of Group B of the Euroleague with a win against Turkish champions Efes Pilsen on Thursday night in Istanbul.
Maccabi guard Will Solomon will return to his old stamping ground and will hope to put his disappointing early season form behind him and lead Tel-Aviv to a win against his former team.
After struggling to beat Cibona Zagrev 83-74 at the Nokia Arena last week, the two-time defending Euroleague champs face their toughest test so far this season against the Turks.
Pilsen boasts one of the best squads in the Euroleague including playmaker Marko Popovich, and forwards Henry Domercant and Antonio Granger.
Tel-Aviv will especially have bad memories from Popovich, who while at Croatian team Zadar beat the yellow-and-blow almost single handedly in the 2003 Adriatic league final. Efes have enjoyed the surprising early season form of 25 year old, Kaya Peker.
The Turkish forward has averaged 16.6 points and 7 rebounds a game in the Euroleague thus far. Peker is part of a versatile frontcourt which also includes Kerem Gonlum and Nikola Prkacin.
Maccabi expect to have forward Maceo Baston back, although an ankle problem has limited his effectiveness in recent weeks.
On Tuesday night Hapoel Jerusalem recorded its best result of the season so far, beating Roma 94-91 in the ULEB Cup at Roma.
Hapoel led throughout the game and enjoyed an excellent night by Center Erez Markovich who scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Horace Jenkins and Roger Mason led Hapoel scorers with 22 points each. Also Tuesday, Ironi Nahariya suffered a surprising home defeat 70-64 to Nimbruk.
The Czechs began the game with a 7-0 run and never looked back. Nahariya trailed Nimbruk for the entire forty minutes and will now need an unlikely win against Khimky Moscow to qualify for the next round.
Three more games involving Israeli teams in Europe were held on Wednesday night. In the EuroCup Hapoel Tel-Aviv were embarrassed at the Nokia Arena, losing 73-66 to Groningen of the Netherlands.
The Dutch had lost their first four games of the competition, but led right through the game and beat Hapoel easily.
In the EuroCup Challenge, Elitzur Ashkelon kept their hopes alive of reaching the next round with a 97-87 win over Cluj of Romania. The first half ended in a three point lead for the Romanians, but a strong second half by Ashkelon secured the victory.
Also in the EuroCup, Hapoel Galil Elyon lost 80-74 to Gravelines in France and lost any chance of qualifying for the next round. Galil was chasing the French for most of the game, but could only come to within three points of their opponents, eventually losing by six.