Amare Stoudemire made his long anticipated Winner League debut for Hapoel Jerusalem and helped his team to a 81-61 victory against an overmatched Bnei Herzliya.
Jerusalem, who just last week wrapped up the Winner Cup preseason tournament title as well as coming up with a State Cup win, opened the 2016/17 campaign at home in front of 7,000 rabid fans all wanting to get their first look at Amare. Wearing the familiar number “1” on his back, Amare may not have hit a field goal during the contest going 0/3, but played a factor in the victory as the number 3 was wild. Stoudemire scored 3 free throws, pulled down 3 offensive and 3 defensive rebounds, tuned over the ball 3 times, blocked 3 shots, drew 3 fouls and picked up 3 fouls of his own on what was his third overall game in Israel!
However, it wasn’t just the Amare show as Israeli guard Bar Timor led all scorers with 19 points on 7/11 shooting with 3/4 from behind the arc while Lior Eliyahu and Travis Peterson helped Jerusalem to a 14 point halftime lead.
The first half saw Timor light it up for Hapoel Jerusalem as number 11 drained three 3-pointers leading the Reds to a commanding 27-19 lead over Bnei Herzliya. Lior Eliyahu dropped 8pts for the home side as it was all Jerusalem after ten minutes.
With Hapoel running on all cylinders and firing at will, Travis Peterson matched Timor’s first half heroics by also going 3/3 from 3-point land increasing Jerusalem’s half time lead to 14 points, 45-31. Basketball Super League’s Israeli-Arab player Karam Mashour led Herzliya with 8pts at the half.
Jerusalem continued their fine play scoring 19 points in the third quarter for a 64-47 advantage as Jerome Dyson with 12 points joined Timor (17pts) and Eliyahu (12pts) in double digits. The rout was on.
The final frame was garage time aplenty as Hapoel ran away with a 20-point win, 81-61. The Reds had five players who finished in double digits as Bar Timor led the way with 19 followed by Yotam Halperin and Travis Peterson (8 rebounds) with 14pts a piece while Jerome Dyson and Lior Eliyahu (7 rebounds) each had 12 points. Bnei Herzliya was led by Halil Kanacevic with 14 points, Adom Jacko dropped 11pts and Mashour finished with 10.
Following the game Amare Stoudemire spoke to the press about his contribution to the game: “We had open layups because the other team was focusing on me and trying to prevent me from scoring which is great for the team because the rest of my teammates can be the beneficiary of that.”
On his role with the team:
“It will evolve more and more as the season goes along and I’m sure the coaching staff will figure out how to get me more involved offensively.”
About his teammates:
“It’s great. I’ve said it all year that we all have to be leaders this season. We have so many players that can play great at both ends of the floor and tonight we showed it. Bar played great and Travis knocked down those open 3’s.”