Eyes Wide Open: Maccabi visits Red Star and Jordan Loyd

Apr 1, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv heads to Belgrade for a date with Red Star on Gameday 33 of Euroleague action as the Yellow & Blue will look to win their third straight game which would mark the longest winning streak of the season. With game at home against ASVEL and Khimki along with an away trip to Zenit to end the campaign next week, maybe, just maybe Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad will end the season with a 17-17 record.

The Yellow & Blue are coming off a 99-94 overtime win against Barcelona while Red Star enters the matchup after falling to Milano 93-72 earlier this week as Dejan Radonjic will try to get his team back onto the winning track

Ioannis Sfairopoulos – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“It’s very important to end this season strong and fight as hard as we can for our club and for Maccabi, the fans and the owners to finish as best as we can,” said the Maccabi bench boss about their upcoming clash with Red Star. “They play really good defense and it’s not going to be an easy game. We need to forget the win over Barcelona and look ahead.”

The star of Maccabi’s win over Barcelona Ante Zizic also spoke about the club’s Serbian test, “We have to be focused on Red Star. They are a tough team and we have to react.”

“This game is very important and we want to continue to get better,” explained Angelo Caloiaro. “We want to continue to improve.”

Sasa Obradovic – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

The last time the two clubs met however, Sasa Obradovic was on the sidelines but after winning only 5 of 16 games, the Serbian was replaced with a familiar face in veteran Dejan Radonjic. However since coming back to the site of arguably his greatest accomplishments, the Montenegrin hasn’t been able to do any better with the club after making some wholesale roster changes Red Star sports just four wins in the last 16 games.

Radonjic who will be looking to recreate the success he had with the team between 2013-17 when he helped the club win a number of ABA titles while also featuring admirably in the Euroleague will return to his bread and butter focussing primarily on defense while looking to mostly control the pace and run the pick & roll.

Dejan Radonjic – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

However, with the way Maccabi is playing of late, the Yellow & Blue will have the upper hand against the Serbian side. But the most interesting part of the game may be watching Jordan Loyd who may be manning the point at Yad Eliyahu next season. The former Hapoel Eilat product will want to make his mark and show what he can do while the Maccabi defenders will try and stop the explosive NBA champion.

Averaging 17.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 27:37 per game, Loyd has been the only bright spot for Red Star in a very tough season. Last year, the guard plied his trade with Valencia where he had some up and down moments with the team while also battling injury. This season though Loyd has been fit as a fiddle and has played in 27 games while starting in 25 of them.

Jordan Loyd – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

There have been a number of players rumored to be joining Maccabi for the 2021/22 season, but it’s clear that Loyd may be a prime candidate to play alongside Scottie Wilbekin as the duo may provide a lethal scoring threat game in and game especially with a player who is already familiar with both the Israeli league and the Euroleague. Now that would be a big advantage over a number of potential players that will be in the market.

Despite the game tonight having much meaning for either side, it’s a chance for Maccabi to keep their eyes wide open on Jordan Loyd and what he could potentially do for the Yellow & Blue.

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