Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv will host CSKA Moscow on Thursday night as part of the 13th fixture of the EuroLeague season (21:00, live on Sport5 - channel 55). After six home games, The Yellow & Blue are undefeated in Menorah Mivtachim Arena as they'll face against the European Champions who sit in fifth place holding an 8:4 record. Maccabi will miss the injured John DiBartolomeo, who went through a chest operation, Nate Wolters (thigh), and Omri Casspi (knee).
Coach Giannis Sfairopoulos opened the pre-game press conference wishing a speedy recovery to Co-Owner David Federman, who went through heart procedure: "On behalf of the team, players, and staff, I want to wish best of health to Mr. David Federman that went through surgery. We are happy that everything went well, and we are waiting for him to come back home".
"We have a very important game, like every game on our home court", Said coach Sfairopoulos. "We play against an excellent team that has quality, depth, experience, and they are the EuroLeague holders. Mike James is a big part of their game, but if you see, they have a lot of players in good shape that help them. We can't stop only one player because then different players will make the difference, which means we have to face them as a team and not allow them easy points".
"On the other end, we want to play our game, attack their weaknesses, play smart, and to make the right decisions. Once again, it's going to be a sold-out game, and we want our fans to create a great atmosphere and to push our team to the next level helping us to fight against a very good team".
The coach explained about the team's injuries: "The most severe one is John's (DiBartolomeo), we all support him, and he has our heart and feelings for him. I don't want to talk about injuries now because I don't want people to think we are looking for excuses. I believe in my players, with them, we can cover these serious misses, and the only thing we have to do is to play with our hearts, and if we do that, everything will go well. We are all together, and we will fight to cover their absences but also try to do our best to win the game".
"It's just another game, to be honest", Said Othello Hunter towards facing his Ex club. "There is another team in front of us, and we want to win and compete against them. I have good memories of my time in CSKA, but I'm in a different place now. I can't think about the past too much, and I'm always excited to see my friends, but when we get on the court, it's a battle".
"Different players have to step up, we have 11 guys, and we are going to need everybody", Told Tyler Dorsey to reporters. We will need people to play a bigger role, be ready for a big game, and we have to take care of home court. The only change in my role is that I'll play more point guard, bring up the ball more, and control the pace of the game that way".