Hapoel Jerusalem came back from 18 points down to take the lead, ultimately losing 86-84 to Valencia. Jerusalem’s careless errors and loss of momentum led to their downfall. Jerome Dyson had 17 points, while Lior Eliyahu had 16 points for Hapoel. Amar’e Stoudamire finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds. Antoine Diot had 21 points leading Valencia to an unconvincing victory.
1) I’m concerned that Hapoel doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency after losing five games in a row. Following the two point loss to Maccabi Coach Pianigiani praised his team’s effort and again after the defeat to Valencia he placed the blame on the referees who gave the visitors 14 more free throws. Was that the only reason they lost? Not really as there were plenty of other reasons to go along with poor officiating including the final Jerusalem timeout where Yotam Halperin threw away the ball after the team wasn’t able to make the substitutions that they wanted, or the fact the team came out so flat to begin the game. Something is going to have to give and Hapoel needs to figure it out sooner rather than later because another loss to Haifa on Sunday night may spell disaster for the Reds.
2) Amare Stoudemire is getting more into the flow of Hapoel’s game but that’s coming at the expense of other players including Curtis Jerrells. Number 55 didn’t have a point until he scored 10 in the third quarter and that’s a problem. Not only wasn’t he scoring he didn’t hand out an assist during that same time period. It looks like when Jerrells is shaking and baking Jerusalem is picking up the wins but when he isn’t the offense seems stagnant and slow. How will Coach Pianigiani make this work? That’s the million dollar question. If Hapoel was winning then the team would have the luxury of time to continue to work on integrating certain parts of the offense, however, that’s not the case and wins must begin to come quickly and swiftly or else there will be more serious problems on the horizon.
3) Hapoel Jerusalem can’t come out as flat as they did in the first 17 minutes of the contest, they just can’t. Fouls or no fouls, there’s no way Hapoel can go down by 18(!) points with 2:14 remaining in the first half, that’s just trouble. In essence, even though Jerusalem took a lead later on in the game, to me the game was already lost in the first half. As the team collected fouls and spread the floor for a magnificent third quarter just as the coach said, you can’t keep up the rate of play over rather long run stretching the floor. The poor start impacted the whole game plan from beginning to end which unfortunately for Hapoel ended in a another loss.
Jerusalem’s upcoming schedule is no pretty picture with Haifa and Rishon in the league and Lublijana and Kuban away as Coach Pianigiani’s crew must get back into the winning track and quickly if they plan on making the Israeli league playoffs. Sure the season is young hut it’s always better to be winning that’s better to be losing.
They said it
Simone Pianigiani: “We are disappointed. We started the game with too many mistakes and to give Valencia, a top team, a 10-point lead is tough. In the second half we played the right way, we changed the game and we played aggressive. But we stopped our momentum and we couldn’t finish the game.”