Maccabi Tel Aviv faces CSKA Moscow in Euroleague Gameday 13 action on Thursday night at 21:00. The Yellow & Blue will be going into the contest without a number of injured players including Omri Casspi (knee), Nate Wolters (our 6 weeks hamstring) and John Dibartolomeo (out for 6 months pectoral muscle) and other players will need to step up in their stead.
Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos held his pregame press conference ahead of the game and began by sending his well wishes to one of the team owners David Federman who is recovering from a heart procedure.
“I want to wish the best of held the to David Federman and we are looks forward to him coming home to be with us.”
“We are playing a good team with quality, depth and the Euroleague champions. We have to do our best to have maximum effort. Mike James is a big part of their game but Daniel Hackett and Janis Strelnieks are dangerous. We can’t just stay to stop one player, but anyone can score. We want to attach them weaknesses and read their game and put on a good performance. We want the fans to create a great atmosphere and help us fight.”
Impact of the injuries:
“I don’t want to talk about injuries as I don’t want it to be looked at as an excuse. We will play with heart and we will fight to cover the absences but also do the best to win the game.”
In the market for a player:
“We are in the market and we have the backing from the owners and are supporting the club and are willing to put extra money for bringing in a player. Right now it’s very difficult because teams don’t want to release them because they have contracts. Tyler Ennis wants to give his best to go to the NBA and we are going to do our best. We don’t want to bring a player just to bring him.”
How to defend CSKA:
“We have to read the best option that we can to execute as their guards control the game and CSKA has the best 3-point percentage in the league. We will have a couple of video sessions and analyze as to what to do on the court.”
His to free up Scottie Wilbekin to take his shots:
“He needs to also organize the game. All of our guards and forwards will have to participate and step up and take the chance that they have so everyone can have their part in the offensive game.
The club’s General Manager Nikola Vujcic also spoke about the injuries to the players and the search for a replacement: