Maccabi Tel Aviv looks to continue winning streak in penultimate round of the EuroLeague regular season

Apr 4, 2024 | Holyland Hoops | 0 comments

Maccabi Tel Aviv (7th place, 19-13) takes on Barcelona (4th place, 21-11) on Thursday night (21:30 IDT / 14:30 EDT) in Barcelona in an appetizing Round 33 EuroLeague contest.

Maccabi has secured a play-in spot for the post-season and has only a very slim hope of getting into the top 6 – needing either Olympiacos or Fenerbahçe (who play each other in Round 34) to lose their last two games – while Barcelona will be looking to get a win to help secure a top four spot and home court advantage for the quarter final series.

The Yellow & Blue are on a 17-game winning streak across all competitions (including 6 in a row in Europe). They will be looking to continue the run in Spain, especially after the heartbreaking 90-92 loss to Barcelona Belgrade back in November after being up with 86 seconds left to play.

“Overall, we’re coming into the game feeling good because we are winning and we’ve just gotten through an important State Cup game [a 104-72 win over Ramat Gan at Yad Eliyahu],” Maccabi coach Oded Katash said. “We are aware that it will be a game at the highest level that Europe has to offer and it is going to be very difficult and challenging. If we want to get a good result, we will need to play a practically perfect game.

It will take an all-round effort for Maccabi to get the win, with Barcelona sporting one of the strongest rosters in the competition, with the likes of former NBA players Ricky Rubio, Willy Hernangomez and Jabari Parker, as well as European stars like Jan Vesely and Tomas Satoransky.

“Regardless of the results of the other games [in the EuroLeague], we want to go there and win because it is an important game for us. This is a team that plays at a very high pace, a team primarily with a lot of offensive capabilities, a lot of experience, intelligence and a good shooting team in certain combinations – almost a perfect offensive team.”

Maccabi won’t be shy against their more-fancied opposition, with their offense led by March EuroLeague MVP Wade Baldwin (who was second in the league in average PIR (23.2) and ranked fifth in scoring (18.4 points per game) for the month), leading Maccabi in scoring in three of their five games in March. He also led Maccabi’s scoring in the November loss to the Catalans, with 19 points, 1 rebound, 8 assists and 1 steal.

Another strong performer in that loss was Maccabi forward Bonzi Colson, who had 11 points and 7 rebounds. Colson himself is in good form, averaging 14.4 points and 5 rebounds during March.

“We are preparing like we prepare for all the other games of the season,” Colson said. “It’s going to be a high-intensity game, but we are focusing on ourselves and doing everything we can to get the win. It will be a fun atmosphere and we are excited about it. We have to play like we have been playing lately.”

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