Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv will host Olympiacos on Thursday night as part of the 26th EuroLeague regular season fixture (21:00, live on Sport5 - channel 55). The Yellow & Blue come into the contest, winning three straight games in European action (Khimki Moscow, Fenerbahce, and Valencia), holding a 17:8 record. On the other end, Georgios Bartzokas's squad beat CSKA Moscow and Asvel Villeurbanne at home before departing to Israel.
In 20 head to head matchups between the squads, they split a 10:10 record. In Tel Aviv, Maccabi leads 6:4. As for the first matchup between the two clubs this season, the Yellow & Blue defeated the Reds 90:65, in the Peace & Friendship Arena.
"After a long period on the road, we are back playing at home, and we are really excited to play in front of our fans. Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos at the pre-game press conference. "It's an important game for both teams, we want to stay in positive form, and on the other end, Olympiacos are fighting to qualify for the playoffs, so I expect a very interesting game tomorrow".
"It's too early to talk about home-court advantage, there are 9 games left, and we still haven't qualified a playoff spot", Emphasized Sfairopoulos that added about the final stretch. "Anything can happen, we are all experienced enough to know this, so we think only one game at a time".
"Tarik still isn't practicing with us, we will know his conditions in a couple of weeks". Explained the Greek head coach about the team's injury report. "Yovel and Quincy will be in the roster for tomorrow's game and be ready to help the others to fight for the result we want".
"We missed Menorah arena a lot, it's good being back home, playing a big game against a really good team that is fighting to stay in the playoff hunt for that 8th spot", Told Tyler Dorsey to reports before the final practice. "Olympiacos made a lot of changes since we last saw them: a new coach, a lot of new players that we have never seen, and a faster style of play. We have to be ready and prepared because you can never know as it will be different from the first-round game. We play well at home, so we will be prepared to protect home court".
"We don't want to say we are in (the playoffs) for sure because it can be a quick turnaround in any given moment, but our goal is to have home-court advantage, we will take it one game at a time looking towards tomorrow", Said Aaron Jackson who spoke about the keys to the game. "We have to be aggressive first, can't let Olympiacos come here and use their tempo, size, and athleticism to push us around, we have to show them this is our house, and we will protect it".
"Zoos is one of the most underrated players in the league, being very important to our team. We all know what Quincy brings to the table, he is a hell of a player, and getting them back is a good addition". Added the point guard about the return of Yovel Zoosman and Quincy Acy towards the final stretch. "It's the EuroLeague so each team will give you their best shot when you win those close games and win not playing the best is really good for the team, it helps you understand how to need to win certain games, especially in the playoffs".