Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv will play at home against Kirolbet Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz as part of the 29th EuroLeague fixture (21:00, live on Sport5 - channel 55), in front of an empty gym because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health suggestions.
"The Coronavirus is in our lives, we follow all the instructions and precautions from the government and ministry of health of how to protect ourselves and how not to be infected", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos about the complex situation. "Baskonia now is in a completely different situation than in the first-round game. First of all, they changed the coach. Secondly, they changed a lot of players because they had some injuries. I can say that they have won four out of the last five games, and also won the past three games in a row, and this happened to them for the first time this season. That means that they are in their best shape right now".
"We will have a very difficult game tomorrow, we need to be very focused, and ready. We talked to the players and will talk to them again now before our practice, and we will emphasize a lot about the critical situation we are in", Added Sfairopoulos. "We need to be concentrated on this game and not think that everything is easy. Baskonia is fighting for position in the playoffs, and we are now six games until the end, and I don't want to have a surprise from our opponents".
"We are taking it as best we can, one step at a time making sure everyone is healthy", Said Jake Cohen about the latest health situation towards the game tomorrow. "It's something that is unprecedented, so we just want everyone to be healthy, and hopefully it can be restrained quickly so we can go back to focusing on what we love, basketball. In the meantime, we still have games to play and jobs to do. When it comes to tomorrow, we will do our best to put all of that on the side and try to get the win".
"Hopefully we will show improvement from the past couple of games, we haven't shown our best basketball, the Maccabi style and we need to get back to that, get our confidence back and play a good game ", Added Cohen about the keys for tomorrow after the last performances. "It starts defensively, that has been our biggest struggle in the past two games, so if we get back to our defensive ways, we will be in good shape".
"Mentally, we have to find our focus again. We haven't been playing great defense, great basketball, and as Jake said, we haven't been playing Maccabi basketball", Told Othello Hunter about how's the team preparing to the game". Defensively, we were like monsters, we were everywhere on the floor, and now we kind of lost that, so I think that we've got to focus more on defense. On offense, we need to share the ball more".
"For us, we don't want to settle down, just be relaxed. Bakonia came here to fight, they are close to making playoffs, and our goal is just to win games", Continued the veteran center. "We need to fight and get our feel back after the past two games".
Maccabi demolished Baskonia 113:83 on the road win in Round 8. Scottie Wilbekin led all 6 Yellow & Blue double-figures scorers with 20 points, Elijah Bryant scored 19 while John DiBartolomeo and Nate Wolters added 14 points each. Maccabi hit a club-record 17 three-pointers and won by the largest margin in a game in Spain.