Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (10:11) heads out to Turkey to face Fenerbahce (11:10) on Tuesday evening as part of gameday 22, the first game of a double-round EuroLeague week (20:00, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55). Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad face back to back Turkish teams who are making their playoff push as the Yellow & Blue sit only one game back from the 8th seed, Anadolu Efes.
After not playing Saturday evening against Hapoel Gilboa/Galil after Real Madrid player Nicolas Laprovittola tested positive for COVID-19, all Maccabi players and staff members tested negative twice for COVID-19, allowing the team to make the trip to Turkey. The Yellow & Blue will be without the latest addition T.J. Cline and Omri Casspi, who's still suffering from a stomach virus.
"We come up against Fenerbahce that won 6 games in a row, they're in their best shape of the season, and they've been playing one of the best in the EuroLeague if not the best", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos before departing to Turkey. "It's going to be a difficult mission, we respect them, but we also respect ourselves, we have quality, we believe, and we have a game plan set for the task. We will fight to execute the things we want to do on the court and bring the game to our playing style".
"It's not going to be easy, they have new players and very experienced ones, but we will fight for our chances. For us, it's very important to stay concentrated because Fenerbahce can punish and finish the game in a couple of minutes".
The Yellow & Blue coach explained his take about the last couple of days: "It's the first time in my career that I get ready for a game, make the final meeting, and afterward, we don't play, and the game gets postponed because of Real's Covid incident. Yes, we want to win, and we are happy when we do so, but at the end of the day, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and everything is different".
"There are no fans in the stands, and we aren't playing the way basketball should be played, this is unusual. Every day has become uncertain for our lives, it's not easy because until we got the results, we examined who got close to the player, and it wasn't easy until we all got the third negative result".
Tyler Dorsey, who comes off a EuroLeague career-high 30 points against Real Madrid, spoke towards the next mission ahead: "We have to be physical against Fenerbahce going in there and be ready to fight. I don't go into games with the keys of trying to do something specifically because it's all about what the other teams give you, and that's what you need to take".