In Round 22 of Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Maccabi Tel-Aviv will host Real Madrid in a duel that has repeated the most in European basketball history, as they will meet for the 60th time. In their first encounter, Real Madrid won 86-85 thanks to a three-pointer from Jaycee Caroll with only 2.4 seconds remaining. Now it’s time for Maccabi to get their revenge, but they have enough power to do that?
The biggest news for the Israeli team is that Scottie Wilbekin was signed to a three-year extension, while the addition of former NBA Amar’e Stoudemire will add more experience to their frontcourt. Maccabi suffered a defeat in last round against Bayern 80-68 but managed to get back on track with a victory over Hapoel Tel-Aviv 84-74. That game marks Stoudemire debut and he finished the game with 11 points in 15 minutes. The rotation is small for Maccabi these days because Tarik Black, Omri Casspi, John DiBartolomeo, Nate Wolters and Yovel Zoosman were out for the game against Hapoel and all of them are expected to be out for Real’s clash. The main contributors for the team were: Quincy Acy (12 points and 9 rebounds), Scottie Wilbekin (11 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists) and Elijah Bryant (12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals).
In Euroleague, Real lost their last 3 games in a row and now they came in Israel with a fully fit and motivated roster. Anthony Randolph is back from injury and with the full roster healthy, Coach Pablo Laso has at his disposal many options on both ends of the floor. In their last game, they met Manresa away and won that game 80-75 thanks to a very good fourth quarter, won by 10 points, 23-13. Their main contributors were: Gabriel Deck (17 points and 11 rebounds), Facundo Campazzo (13 points and 4 assists) and Walter Tavares (10 points and 10 rebounds). Real should rely on their longer roster and rotate a long list of players to take advantage of Maccabi’s missing players.
Those absentees will weigh too much in the final score of the game, because you can’t rely on 8 players an entire game against Real Madrid. Of course, Maccabi is a force at home, but Real Madrid came here with only one goal: to take the victory. It will be some interesting match-ups like Wilbekin vs Campazzo or Stoudemire against Real’s big frontcourt, but in the end, Los Blancos will win this game.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc