Devin Smith of Maccabi Tel Aviv spoke with BallinEurope’s Emmet Ryan ahead of Friday’s Euroleague semi final with CSKA Moscow.
Devin Smith told Ballineurope.com that he was confident in Maccabi’s shooting options ahead of their clash with CSKA but that the team as a whole needs to succeed more on the glass.
“We have different players who step up for every game. That allows us to spread the floor and make shots for everybody,” said Smith.
“Rebounding has been a weakness of ours throughout the season. In this type of situation it comes down to the effort and the will to get the ball. Everybody has the fight and determination to make up for that.”
Smith made the comments at Thursday’s practice ahead of Friday’s Final Four game with CSKA Moscow. Smith said the team’s test in the playoffs against Milan would stand to them on Friday night.
“We hit a little rough patch in the Top 16 but we finished in a great position. We matched up with Milan pretty well. Winning one game here allowed us to go back to Israel pretty confident on our home court,” said Smith.
“It helped us grow as a team. Coming here and winning in this building, I don’t know if Milan lost many game here. Some of our players really grew from that situation, Alex [Tyus], Tyrese [Rice], really became a part of our team in that playoff series.”
Smith said the underdog label was fine with the Maccabi side but that his team has the talent to go all the way this weekend.
“Maybe we’re not favourites but when we play our type of basketball we can compete with anybody. It comes down to how much we want it and how hard we play,” said Smith.
“We’re going to have a lot of supporters here. They’ll want to see us fight, battling for the ball. Maccabi’s fans travel well and they are really excited to be here to support us,” he said.
“The best motivation is lifting that trophy. This is what we work for all year, to be the top team in Europe. You can’t really add anything else to that.”
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