Nahariya shocked Jerusalem 86-80 up north in Ein Sara as Arik Alfasi’s squad moved out of the league’s basement. Former NBA star Jordan Crawford played in his third game for Nahariya and scored 21 points, while Myke Henry added 17 points and Dagan Yivzori and Iftach Ziv each dropped 11 points in the hard fought victory. James Feldeine led the Reds with 27 points, 22 of which were scored in the third quarter and Yogev Ohayon chipped in with a season high of 15 points.
Jerusalem jumped out to a 16-11 lead after 5:30 as Blatt hit a pair of threes for the Reds while Henry did the same for Nahariya as the first quarter ended with Oded Katash’s squad ahead 23-17. Blatt drilled home another three to give Jerusalem a 28-17 lead but Dayan Yivzori Eric Griffin and Niv Misgav drew the host’s back to within 5 points, 31-26 with five minutes remaining in the half. Johnson broke a five minute Jerusalem scoring drought but Henry pulled Nahariya to within one point 33-32 after twenty minutes.
Arik Alfasi’s squad opened the third quarter strong as Crawford hit a pair of three pointers to give Nahariya a 42-38 lead with 6:40 left in the frame. However, Feldeine exploded for 22 points giving Jerusalem a 61-60 advantage as they headed into the decisive quarter. Nahariya grabbed a 2-point lead 71-69 with six minutes remaining in the game that continued to go back and forth. Feldeine’s and-1 plus Blatt’s jumper gave Jerusalem a 77-74 lead with 1:42 left in the contest but Dagan Yivzori swished a triple to draw Nahariya even once again. Crawford hit an acrobatic layup that sent him to the line, Terry Allen hit a pair of free throws while Henry did the same as Nahariya went on a 10-0 run to sew up the victory.
1) Jordan Crawford is the real deal. The former NBA star who averaged 12.2ppg in 6 NBA seasons did so with 5 different teams. In over 30 minutes of action the guard scored 21 points and added 5 assists in his third Israeli league game while helping Nahariya move out of the league’s cellar. I had the opportunity to sit down with Crawford after the game and spoke to the star about his career and his first impressions of Israel. That interview will be available on the Sports Rabbi Podcast which will come out on Tuesday evening Israel time, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I asked Coach Alfasi about his new player, “Everyone knows what his qualities are and what he can do. But it’s not simple to bring a player in who hasn’t played for a while and bring him up to speed. He’s only giving roughly 2/3 of his potential right now. We’ve looked at what he can do for us not just on the court but off of it as well. He played at the highest levels and everyone listens to him. We need his experience on the court.
2) James Feldeine’s third quarter was phenomenal as the guard poured in 22 points. His effort reminded me of Scottie Wilbekin’s 25 4th quarter points for Maccabi last week against Hapoel and in both cases, their respective teams lost. Feldeine said the third quarter scoring spree was in essence meaningless for him, “It didn’t matter as we lost and whatever I did in the quarter didn’t help. The points are good but I want to win more than score. They just had too many scores in a row and we couldn’t get the stops as they were going on a run. No one was playing defense on either team. We have to get back playing defense and we struggled in the 4th quarter.” A lot of truth in those comments as the fundamentals just weren’t there all evening both on the defensive end and on the offensive side of the ball. Oded Katash commented, “I feel that we lost the game in the first half. We weren’t good on offense and we didn’t play intelligently. We should have been ahead by double digits but we didn’t follow out game plan. We didn’t pass and we didn’t play how we wanted to. We only went to the line 5 times and that’s part of not playing smart basketball. Credit to Nahariya.”
3) Balagan. Chaos. That’s how you can describe the game that was. The ball was flying everywhere and bodies as well. There was very little intelligent ball on both sides of the court from both teams. Feldeince had never heard the word Balagan before but I’m sure he knows now what it means, “Chaos was definitely us in the 4th quarter. They played up and down and we did that also somewhat but we have a system. We have to get better and it’s a long season. We knew they would be a tough team to beat at home. They have new players and a new coach, but we’ll see them again.” Arik Alfasi also spoke about his players and what would help them out on the court, “If the players knew how to put their ego aside and not look at their personal statistics we would be even better. We all worked together and it was a real team win by the players.”
Da’Sean Butler and Tashawn Thomas went an abysmal 0/9 in a combined 44 minutes of play while Bar Timor went 1/8 for 2 points in 15+ minutes of action. Those stats aren’t going to win you games that’s for sure and Jerusalem needs those three players to perform when they are on the court. With Bamberg coming up on Wednesday night, a poor showing like what occurred up in Ein Sara will result in disaster as the Reds keep their hopes alive to finish first in their group.