Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv made some major roster changes over the summer, which leads to many special games in the 2022-23 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season. Here are some of the exciting challenges on the Maccabi calendar.
Games to Watch: Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
Round 1: Opening against Zalgiris
The first time the loyal Maccabi fans will get to see their beloved team in action will come on opening night against a team it will always be connected with. Derrick Sharp's miracle three-point shot against Zalgiris in 2004 is among the most famous baskets in EuroLeague history; it forced overtime in a do-or-die game that eventually led to back-to-back EuroLeague crowns. One of the most physical players in the competition, center Josh Nebo, moved from Zalgiris to Maccabi in the off-season and he will match up against Laurynas Birutis. Meanwhile, Zalgiris guard Keenan Evans joined form Tel Aviv and will face some of his old friends.
Round 11: Former Bayern stars visit Munich
There are many crossed paths between these teams in recent years; Maccabi signed two guards over the summer who starred for Bayern in recent years. Darrun Hilliard was Bayern's top scorer last season (13.7 ppg.) and Wade Baldwin led that team in points (15.3 ppg.) and assists (4.0 apg.) in the 2020-21 campaign. On the other hand, Othello Hunter enters his 10th EuroLeague season, and played for Maccabi from 2019 to 2021. Last season, Maccabi edged Bayern 69-68 in the teams' EuroLeague season opener after rallying from an 8-point deficit in the final 5 minutes. Bayern prevailed at Audi Dome, 70-52, behind 13 points from Corey Walden.
Round 16: Welcoming Zizic and the champs
After two seasons in yellow, Ante Zizic returns to Tel Aviv for the first time as a guest. Zizic amassed 686 points (10.6 ppg.) and 338 rebounds (5.2 rpg.) in 65 EuroLeague games with Maccabi and boosted those numbers up 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in two games against Efes last season. Zizic should battle hard against Maccabi's physical frontcourt, led by Josh Nebo, Alex Poythress and Jarell Martin. Thee teams have faced each other as many as 33 times, but never in the highest stages of the competition - the 1998 eighthfinals playoffs was their biggest battle until now. That could change in the 2022-23 season!
Round 19: Returning to Athens
This should be a very special game for Maccabi head coach Oded Kattash, who played and coached for both teams in the past. As player, Kattash helped Panathinaikos win the 2000 EuroLeague with 17 points against Maccabi in the championship game. Injuries forced Kattash to an early retirement and at age 29 he already started his coaching career. He led the Greens to the Greek League crown in 2021 and returns to Athens to face his former club in this showdown. It is also a classic game in EuroLeague history; these teams also faced each other in the 2011 EuroLeague Championship Game among many memorable meetings.
Round 34: regular-season finale vs Real
This game needs no introduction: it is the most repeated showdown in European competitions. These teams are set to face off for the 69th. Some of the games have been at the highest stages of the competition. Real defeated Maccabi in the 1980 EuroLeague Championship Game, 89-85. Maccabi returned the favor in 2014, downing Los Blancos 98-86 in overtime to claim the continental crown. Maccabi had prevailed in the 2011 EuroLeague semifinals, and Real swept Maccabi twice in the playoffs, in 2013 and 2022. This time it’s the final game of the regular season there could be a lot at stake.