Hapoel Jerusalem was eliminated from EuroCup play after falling to Reggio Emilia at home, 79-66. The game was close throughout the first 30 minutes but the final frame was the Reds downfall scoring only 6 points to disappointingly tumble out of continental competition. Jerome Dyson led all scorers with 27 points going 4/7 from beyond the arc while adding 6 assists, as Ronald Roberts recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Wright dropped 19 points and dished out 9 assists for the visitors while James White, Jalen Reynolds and Manuchar Markoishvili all scored 13 points in the win.
1) Disaster and Disappointment. I’m not sure what word describes Hapoel Jerusalem’s European campaign better. All in all, the loss to Reggio was a microcosm of the season wrapped up in 40 minutes. Putting aside Dyson and Roberts who did everything in their power to try and win no one else showed up. Kalin Lucas 4 points, Terrence Kinsey 6 points, Startos Perperologou 5 points, Lior Eliyahu and Yotam Halperin 4 points each, Ohayon 2 points, Alen Omic 0 points, Austin Daye 7 seconds, Bar Timor DNP. Whoa! I’m not even quite sure how to analyze this. There was so much wrong and nothing right. Jerusalem didn’t show up and deservedly were bounced from the EuroCup. It’s amazing to think how far Hapoel went last season which was just one win away from the final and where they are now. Gone. How the mighty have fallen.
2) Head Coach Mody Maor also has plenty of food for thought as well. Why did Austin Daye, a former NBA player who has featured in many games this season only see the floor for 7 seconds? How come Bar Timor didn’t play at all? Why would you now play one of your best offensive weapons as well as one of your best defenders? Why did Omic play 7 minutes in which he was poor on both ends of the floor? I understand there may be professional reasons for each decision and that’s what Maor explained when asked in the press conference, but you can’t tell me that Timor couldn’t offer more than Lucas or Ohayon. You also can’t tell me that Daye who could bury the 3 ball from the corner couldn’t have seen the court in favor of Perperologou or Eliyahu. And you can’t tell me that Ram Eliaspour couldn’t have given better defensive minutes than Omic. The game was “Do or Die” and not a place where you need to teach any lessons. If you have players at your disposal use them and Maor didn’t.
3) Bar Timor must be shaking his head thinking why the heck he didn’t take the Maccabi Tel Aviv offer. I can’t believe he’s happy sitting on the bench and watching his team literally fall apart in Europe. How frustrating must it be? He could’ve been fighting for a spot on the court in Euroleague which will go to at least the start of April for Maccabi but instead the continental campaign is done and there’s just the league to look ahead to at this point. Boy would I like to be inside of his head right about now…
Credit to Austin Daye for talking to the media after the game especially since he only played 7 seconds. He knew we all wanted to know what he thought about his current situation with the club and he was straight saying that he is human like everyone else and was disappointed not to play while also stating that he felt he had a good practice a day before the game. It’s unfortunate that for a elimination game, Daye collected splinters for 39:53; if you’re not going to play him why is he even still here. Bring in a player that will play or at least have a chance to. I’m just still in shock I guess as to how nonchalant the team and staff were for an elimination game especially when they have another one on Saturday night on the road in Nahariya in Cup play. It’s not easy to get up after what happened against Reggio Emilia and now Maor and the staff have some serious work to do to make sure that what happened in EuroCup won’t happen in the State Cup. We saw it occur a couple of years ago, I’m sure they don’t what a repeat performance.