Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv's playoff run resumes on Thursday, heading out the road to face AX Armani Exchange Milan in the 25th EuroLeague fixture (21:45, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55). The Israeli champions come into the matchup in great shape after winning six consecutive contests in the domestic competition.
The Yellow & Blue hold a 10:12 record, missing its last two games, which were suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions, while Ettore Messina's side is third in the standings with 15 wins and 8 losses. Kevin Punter leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game, Shavon Shields contributes 12.9 ppg, while Malcolm Delaney adds 11.6 ppg and 4.0 apg.
"Milan has great quality, they're ranked second in point per possession offense, and they're also a good defensive unit", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos about the opponent. "We need to be very concentrated to stop their scoring while playing well on offense, not letting them a chance to hurt our style of play. We'll need to fight with maximum energy and great concentration".
"Although not playing in the EuroLeague, we kept a good rhythm playing back-to-back games in high intensity. All of the players were focused throughout the whole time, so in my opinion, we won't have problems coming back playing with that high energy and concentration, which I expect on Thursday".
The Yellow & Blue captain John DiBartolomeo added before departing to Italy: "We're excited to return to the EuroLeague after a small break. Milan will be a challenging game, as lately, they've been playing very good basketball. We had a tough loss to them a couple of months ago, thinking we deserved to win that game coming up a little short, so hopefully, we will change the story this time, and we look forward to getting it going on the right foot".
"As a team, we are in a different spot than we were then. We have to continue to work, we have twelve games left in the EuroLeague to make the playoff run".
Oz Blayzer, who's been on a tear as of late, scoring 14.2 points and grabbing 5.2 rebounds in the last five domestic competitions, spoke about the team's mentality: "We're coming in a good momentum and in a good mood. We are starting a tough stretch of games, and we're ready to play a challenging game. We'll need to fight to secure a victory, we all know the importance of this game, which is vital for our continuation".