Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 88-71 in the capital city keel their record a perfect 8-0 in Israel league play. After a fairly even first half of basketball that saw Rich Howell (20 points) and Lior Eliyahu (12 points) score 30 of the Reds 47 points, Maccabi closed down the inside while hitting their own outside shots to runaway with the 16 point victory. Pierre Jackson was the game’s MVP scoring 18 points while dishing out 10 assists while Jonah Bolden dropped 9 points, pulled down 12 rebounds picked up 2 steals along with a pair of blocked shots for the Yellow & Blue.
1) Let’s just say that the stat sheet was quite interesting. Howell and Eliyahu scored 30 of their 32 points in the first half. Jerome Dyson went 1/14 (!) from the field. Jerusalem went 8/36 over the last twenty minutes while Maccabi went 17/30. But the most telling stat was points on the paint. Hapoel had 24 points in the first half compared to only 2 points in the second while Maccabi had 22 in half number one and 20 in 20 in half number two. That’s really amazing. Howell was slicing and dicing at will in the first half and then all of sudden he hit a brick wall. Yotam Halperin facilitated a ton of the first half scoring with 6 assists and Eliyahu was hit, but the The also disappeared over the final half. It’s as if the Yellow & Blue let them fall into a false sense of security and then BANG! No more easy points for you.
2) On a day that Jerome Dyson scores a total of three points, it’s going to be very, very hard for Jerusalem to win. Maccabi’s foreign players scored 55 points to Hapoel’s 25 points. When that happens it’s going to be awfully hard for the Reds to win and for Maccabi to lose. Two of those players, Jackson and Bolden had magnificent evenings as the former played facilitator for much of the game and then out on a scoring display while Bolden has just been an all around solid player with yet another game where he was close to a double double. Bolden is developing into one scary, scary baller. I can’t wait to see him in the NBA. Most people in Israel don’t realize it, but Jonah Bolden is a star and will be a star for years to come in whatever league he’s going to play in. Let’s watch Jackson and see Shay he had to say to The Sports Rabbi after his MVP evening:
3) Maccabi Coach Neven Spahija played 11 players for at least 5:45 and were still fresh and raring to go over the last 10 minutes while Jerusalem on the other hand looked as if they had had it by the final frame. Jerusalem Coach Mody Maor chose not to play Bar Timor as they have a crucial game on Wednesday in the EuroCup, while Eliyahu only played 13+ minutes. I get why Maor and company didn’t want to burn out the players which Budocnost coming later this week and Yotam Halperin said it outright in the press conference that the continental game is much more important. But still, you are playing Maccabi and if you’re an athlete you want to perform well in what is your biggest domestic league rivalry. I am not a big believer in throwing a game for the sake of another one as the philosophy usually ends up biting you in the behind. I hope for Jerusalem’s sake that’s not the case, but I’m skeptical.
Let’s watch the Maccabi fans serenading the team bus as it heads back to Tel Aviv after the big league win: