With 9 rounds remaining from the Euroleague’s regular season, the fight for a playoff spot has become more important. Every game is counting a lot for the final standings. For Maccabi Tel Aviv the dream of making the playoffs is more real than ever. The Israeli powerhouse is having a huge season so far. If they can maintain the rhythm, I am sure they can manage to finish in the first 4 teams of the regular season. It would be very important because in that case, Maccabi will have the home-court advantage for the playoff series. Actually I saw them from the beginning of the season, being able to reach the Final4.
But for this to happen, Maccabi Tel Aviv needs all the possible victories in the remaining rounds of the Euroleague. And the game against Olympiacos Piraeus seems to be one of the easiest. The Greek team is coming after 2 home wins against CSKA and Asvel Lyon, but they were losing almost all of their last games away. Since they have lost Vassilis Spanoulis with a season-ending injury the things complicated even more for the squad.
The former Euroleague champions are not in their best shape and my personal opinion is that Olympiacos won’t make the playoffs this year. They changed a lot the face of their roster, firing many Americans like Kevin Punter, Willie Reed, Ethan Happ, Will Cherry and replacing them with new ones like the big man Octavius Ellis or the last acquisitions, Dwight Buycks and Shaquielle McKissic. They are not bad players, but the chemistry will miss. And let’s not forget that chemistry was always the main weapon of Olympiacos. They won back to back Euroleague titles and they were present in many other finals because of this.
It looks like we have a battle between a fresh team that is aiming for the Final4 glory this season, Maccabi Tel Aviv and on the other side, a team that is resigned already for this season. The good news for the Israeli side is the comeback of almost all of their injured players, which makes their rotation almost complete. If the injured Nikola Milutinov won’t play for Olympiacos the things will be easier for the host team and I am expecting a win by at least 6-7 points for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
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