Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv snapped a three-game slide in Round 5 and will try to turn that into its first winning streak of the season when it hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, which is looking to put an end to a three-game losing streak of its own. Maccabi bested Khimki Moscow Region 87-89 in overtime led by Tyler Dorsey, who set a Maccabi record with 8 three-pointers and scored a career-high 26 points. Fenerbahce scored a season-low 68 points in a Round 5 loss at Panathinaikos OPAP Athens despite 17 points and 6 assists from Lorenzo Brown.
Maccabi big man Ante Zizic and the 2019 EuroLeague MVP Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce have played many times before when the former was with Darussafaka Istanbul. In their own previous EuroLeague clash, Zizic posted a double-double and Vesely fouled out in 17 minutes as Darussafaka won 72-65. Zizic has the strength, Vesely has the athleticism and their head-to-head duel has all the markings of a marquee matchup.
Maccabi owns a 14-7 record against Fenerbahce in games this century, including a regular-season sweep last season. Before Othello Hunter's layup in the closing seconds lifted Maccabi to a 77-78 victory in Istanbul, the Israeli champs limited Fenerbahce to 55 points in a Round 5 victory in Tel Aviv. It was the lowest scoring output for Fenerbahce in the last five seasons.
Keys to victory: Maccabi
Maccabi plays at a faster pace than Fenerbahce and making sure its premier ball-handlers – Scottie Wilbekin and Chris Jones – control the game rhythm will be important for the hosts. Maccabi made 14 of 32 shots from downtown last week (43.8%) and another good showing of perimeter scoring would be a major boost to Coach Sfairopoulos's men this week.
Keys to victory: Fenerbahce
Fenerbahce has not gotten the production it would have liked from its frontline as it is shooting 47.9% on two-pointers and averaging just 8.6 offensive rebounds per game. With Jan Vesely, Johnny Hamilton, Ahmet Duverioglu and Danilo Barthel, Fenerbahce has the manpower to improve on both of those numbers and to challenge Macccabi's frontcourt in what could be one of the keys to the game.