Hapoel Jerusalem slumped to a 83-68 loss at Valencia in the first of three games in the Semifinals of the 7 Days EuroCup. Tarence Kinsey led all scorers with 22 points, shooting 6-11 from the field and 2-3 from beyond the arc. Kinsey’s 22 points to go along with Curtis Jerrells 13 points and 5 assists were not enough to even bring Hapoel close to the dominant Valencia. Amar’e Stoudemire went 5-8 for 10 points for the Reds while Fernando San Emeterio scored a huge 21 points on 6-8 field goal shooting as Bojan Dubljevic dropped 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
1) Fernando San Emeterio is a player we’ve come to love to hate because of his success against Israeli teams in the clutch. The Spaniard who played from 2008-2015 with the now Baskonia in my opinion is one of the most underrated players we’ve seen in European competition. The 33-year old shooting guard/small forward always seems to be in the right place at the right time to shine and he did exactly that by dropping 21 points to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and drew 8(!) fouls for a 31 rating index. Those are unbelievable numbers for the veteran who played 29 minutes. And to think that San Emeterio never played for Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona. He is one impressive player.
2) Jerome Dyson scored only 4 points in 31+ minutes going 2/8 from the field plus 0/2 from beyond the arc. Add to that 4 of his team’s 19 turnovers and you have one nightmare of an evening, certainly one that Dyson would like to forget. He’ll have to pull it together for Friday’s game and I’m sure he will. He’s got to be awfully disappointed with his play knowing he could have done much better. On the flip side, Tarence Kinsey scored 22 points to lead the way for Hapoel while grabbing 7 rebounds end dishing out 3 assists in a fantastic effort. Number 21 was on his game from the get go and was clearly going to be a key player for Hapoel. Should’ve Jerusalem gotten more out of Amare Stoudemire who had 6 first quarter points but just 4 points the rest of the way and Curtis Jerrells who dropped 13 points going only 2/7 from 3-point land? I think that both players know that they could’ve done better.
3) Jerusalem will have to learn from this game and make some corrections before Friday’s showdown at the Arena in the capital city as Head Coach Simone Pianigiani said after the contest. They’ll definitely need to cut down the 19 turnovers, be more active on the defensive boards so Valencia doesn’t grab 16 offensive rebounds and move the ball around better to pick up more than just 14 assists. The other disturbing number was that Hapoel only took 6 free throws and that’s way to few shots from the charity stripe. They’ve got to do a better job drawing fouls.
The Israeli contingent of Lior Eliyahu, Yotam Halperin and Bar Timor played 20 minutes and scored 5 points, all coming from Halperin. That’s not good enough if Hapoel wants to move on. Eliyahu has been abysmal of late and Timor is just getting back into the swing of things. The numbers are concerning as well as the minutes, but in defense of Pianigiani he played the best players he had and that’s what the coach needs to do in order to win the game. Play those who he feels will give the team the best chance to win. No one can argue with that.