Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Nahariya 84-75 to avoid a 3-game sweep at home as the best of five quarterfinal series now stands at 2-1 in favor of the number 6 seed. Jerome Dyson scored 18 points, while Richard Howell recorded a Double-Double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Curtis Jerrells dropped 14 points going 4/5 from long distance as Tarence Kinsey scored 11 points for the Reds. Jonathan Sjkoldebrand scored 18 points for the visitors as Derwin Kitchen and Tyrone Nash each had 12 points in the loss.
Jerusalem ran out to a 26-15 first quarter lead as Jerome Dyson scored 10 points while Curtis Jerrells knocked down 8 points of his own to lead the way for the hosts. Jonathan Skjoldebrand kept the visitors in the game with 12 points as the teams went into halftime with Jerusalem holding a 45-38 advantage.
The Reds maintained serve throughout the third quarter as they led 64-57 after 30 minutes while a pair of clutch 3-pointers by Dyson down the stretch along with fine play by Tarence Kinsey helped Jerusalem to the 84-75 home win to send the series back to Nahariya for a Monday night date at 21:05.
1) It wasn’t pretty, but Jerusalem did what they had to do to extend the series and head back to Nahariya for game 4 on Monday night. Both sides featured many broken offensive sets and missed opportunities but Nahariya never seemed to be able to climb out of the 11 point first quarter hole that they dug for themselves. From that point on Jerusalem continued to lead and for the majority of time between 5-10 points with Nahariya only threatening twice to pull within striking distance.
2) Dyson opened and closed the game for Jerusalem scoring 10 first quarter points helping give them to an 11-point lead after ten minutes while his two clutch 3-pointers in the final frame sealed the deal for the hosts. The guard spoke at the press conference about having the opportunity to start which he hadn’t done on a consistent basis since the EuroCup games and said outright that he should have been much more focused when coming in as a substitute. Head Coach Simone Pianigiani made a couple of changes to his starting lineup and inserted Richard Howell and Dyson in favor of Travis Peterson and Bar Timor and the move paid off as Howell was back to his old self picking up a Double-Double with 16 points and 12 rebounds including 7 of the offensive variety. Having Amare Stoudmire back also helped Jerusalem as he caused Nahariya problems in the paint and also scored 7 points.
3) Nahariya was in foul trouble all game long as a number of players finished with 3 or 4 fouls a piece. Scotty Hopson picked up two fouls in the first quarter and went 2/8 from the floor, good for only 6 points which was not going to be enough to help the visitors to the sweep. Nick Faust discussed the foul trouble saying that coach Arik Alfasi wanted the players to play hard and aggressive which was also the message last game when Tyrone Nash picked up two quick fouls and was then sent to the bench. Nahariya will need to be careful in game four and make sure not to get into foul trouble early thereby opening up the door for Jerusalem to take advantage of the situation.
Simone Pianigiani looked very relaxed and happy at the press conference as he dodged a bullet by not being swept at home. However, his team won’t be able to rest on their laurels for very long as they will head back to Nahariya for game 4 on Monday night at 21:05. Jerusalem has plenty of experience and will need to dig down deep again in order to win on the road. Curtis Jerrells hit a game winning 3-pointer up in Ein Sara during the regular season and I’m sure Jerusalem won’t want to be put in the same situation again as Nahariya will definitely come to play with everything they’ve got. Game 4 will be something else, stay tuned for the best that Israel Basketball has to offer.