After three straight Euroleague wins, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv will face one of the biggest challenges European basketball has to offer when they host Barcelona at Menora-Mivtachim Arena (Thursday at 21:05 local, 2:05 pm ET. live broadcast on 5Sport).
Eleven thousand home fans will create the perfect conditions for Giannis Sfairopoulos' players to give Euroleague last season's finalists a good fight. "It will be a difficult game against a great opponent, but when we're playing in front of our fans, we have extra strength and motivation," said the Greek coach, who led Maccabi to two victories over Barca last season.
"We saw Barcelona's last-second win at Turkey, and we know their qualities," added the experienced Derrick Williams when asked about the clash with the only unbeaten team in the competition so far. "It's one of those games you're looking forward to in the calendar, and I think it will be a test for us to see how good we really are."
"It's a shame that Barcelona's game did not go to seven overtimes," said Angelo Caloiaro, half kidding. "We will have to play smart and not turn the ball over too much. We don't want to defeat ourselves against a team like Barca".
Maccabi stuns Barcelona 85:68 at home
An inspiring performance on both sides of the court pushed the yellows to a statement win over the Spanish powerhouse. The Israeli champs advanced to a 5:2 record in the Euroleague
The last unbeaten team in the Euroleague is now beaten. In its best and most impressive performance this season, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv defeated Barcelona 85:68 at Menora-Mivtachim Arena and advanced to a 5:2 record in the competition.
The yellows looked super prepared for everything the Spanish opponent tried and dominated from the get-go. The Euroleague runner-up made attempts to cut the lead in the third quarter, but Eleven thousand fans gave Barcelona no chance.
James Nunnally was Maccabi's leading scorer with 17 points, but today was all about team effort: Scottie Wilbekin added 16 points, Derrick Williams contributed 12, Jayen Reynolds and Ante Ziziv had ten each.
Maccabi's streak of home games will end on Monday when the yellows host Bney Herzeliya. On Friday, they will face another Spanish rival, this time Baskonia Vitoria away.