Maccabi Tel Aviv welcomes Hapoel Eilat for their third game in a row against Israeli league top sides and will look to get back onto the wining track after falling to both Hapoel Holon and Hapoel Jerusalem over the past couple of weeks.
Coach Ioannis Sfairopulos spoke about the keys going forward with a date against Eilat on the horizon, “We have to be more consistent. We had good parts against Holon and Jerusalem but we lost both. We have to have consistency for the full 40 minutes in order to win. And everybody who comes to play the game needs to be ready to play. We had some gaps in the game because we weren’t ready. I expect that after the two video meetings we had where we analyzed the game that we will be ready. We need to restart the computer and everybody needs to play well in the Israeli league as this is our last goal.”
Did the players understand the magnitude and importance of the last two games?
“I don’t think the players were ready mentally to play the games. They knew they were important for our future in the standings but now we need to react after these two games and for this third big game in a row.”
My question here is, who are those players that didn’t come ready to the last couple of games and why? If Maccabi wants to seriously defend its title they need to have all hands on deck. If not they can kiss it goodbye.
DeAndre Kane, who recently returned to the team after being by the side of his ailing mother also preached consistency, “We need to improve. We just need to stay consistent. We know what we’re capable of both in the Euroleague and the Israeli league. I don’t want to separate the two. It’s been a long season and teams go on winning streaks and losing streaks. We saw it last year and near the end we started playing well and everything was clicking. Now that we have just one game a week we have more practice time and more things under our belt which will help us.”
Kane also spoke about last game against Jerusalem and where they can improve, “Got to tip your hat to Jerusalem. Feldeine, Amare, Thomas they play really well. Every game Maccabi can’t blow every team out. That’s our goal and that’s what we want to do but every team have a lot of great players. I think we played a great game. We took the lead they cane back and then we came back, we gave up a lot of easy points that we could have cut out in the overtime after watching the film. We lost, we learned and we move on to the next one.”
But as Kane said last year they began to click in money time and won the championship, however, you still need to do so. And yes, 18 points in a 5 minute overtime period is just way, way, way too much.