Maccabi Tel Aviv bested Hapoel Tel Aviv 89-67 to take a 1-0 quarterfinals series lead. The Yellow & Blue jumped all over the Reds and grabbed a 23-11 first quarter lead and never looked back. DeAndre Kane led the host’s with 15 points, Tarik Black had 12 points and 6 blocks while Scottie Wilbekin dropped 12 points in the win. Tomer Ginat once again recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Jerel McNeal had 15 points in the loss.
1) DeAndre Kane was a man on a mission. After being ejected last Derby at the Drive In, Kane looked to make good and did just that by leading Maccabi in scoring and garnering the Player of the Game award. Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos spoke about Kane’s desire to make amends for last game,”DeAndre came into the game super motivated because of what happened last game.” Kane himself also talked about the game that was and his feelings towards playing in the Derby once again, “It’s a good feeling to win game one and protect home court, but it’s a long series. It’s not over and we have to go in there and play a good game. I was focussed and prepared and we were locked in as a team and we showed it.”
2) Tarik Black was an absolute monster with 12 points and 6 blocks. It seemed that he was all over the court all night long. When Alex Tyus came in the team also didn’t miss beat as the Israeli scored 9 points and added two more blocks to the party. Kane spoke about Black’s contribution, “He’s been doing that all season and we know what he brings to the team, his athleticism and strength and hoe he can move. Tarik’s a great player.” Sfairopoulos also commended his center’s play, “Tarik was a beast at the start of the game and he stopped the opponent with his blocks.” Will he remain with the team next season? “We would like him to stay and there are other players that we want to keep here as well but I’ll only talk about that at the end of the season.” The more and more Black is playing, the better and better he is getting. Maccabi needs to find a way to keep the big man with the club, or else they will need to once again have a center that needs to go through a learning curve in European play.
3) What did Black have to say about the win and the keys to the victory? “I know it’s cliche, but defense wins championships. That’s what it’s all about. I went out there and provided what I could for the team and it was blocks.” And going forward? “Each game is very important and as coach says you only need to win by one point especially when you need to win a series as long as you’re ahead by one when the last buzzer goes off. Each game is very crucial for the future and our plans, so it’s important but now it’s time move on go the next game.”
What did Hapoel Tel Aviv have to say about going down 1-0 in the best of 5 game series? Tomer Ginat talked about some of the reasons why while also looking ahead to Monday’s Game 2, “We weren’t aggressive enough and it wasn’t one of our best games. We had a chance to come back in the third quarter but we couldn’t take advantage of it. On Monday we have a new game to play. We have to play more as a team and more aggressively. At home with our fans, hopefully it will go better.” Coach Danny Franco also chimed in, “This game is over and it’s a series. In a series, every game can be a totally different story. There are many things that e can do better next game. There are many players here that know they can do better and can in fact do better and they’ll do just that next game.”