Maccabi Tel Aviv 83-62 Maccabi Haifa
The Greens hung tough for 3 quarters but the Yellow & Blue were able to pull away in the last frame outscoring the visitors 27-11 over the last ten minutes to take the 21-point victory. Jonah Bolden starred offensively for Maccabi with 20 points going 4/5 from beyond the arc while Pierre Jackson dropped 10 points and added 8 assists. Haifa was led by Angel Rodriguez who flirted withal triple double, scoring 14 points, pulling dow 7 rebounds and dishing out 8 assists in the loss.
1) Maccabi Tel Aviv got back onto the winning track with a league win over Maccabi Haifa thanks to a big 4th quarter by Jonah Bolden and Karam Mashour. The Yellow & Blue Head Coach Neven Spahija was happy with the pair’s performance and spoke candidly about Mashour, “I have to develop the player and give him a chance to play no matter what the result is. He’s coming off of an injury and I like what he did tonight.” Spahija kept Mashour out on the floor along with Bolden for crunch time in the 4th quarter and they both responded as the former scored 7 points, pulled down 5 rebounds and dished out 2 assists in 12 minutes of action and the latter dropped 20 points going 4/5 from long distance to take home the win. The more these two players get experience during money time, the more they will be able to help down the line by gaining invaluable basketball know how and most importantly, confidence and maturity.
2) So far, the Croatian mastermind has been able to work various players into the lineup while always looking for a way for them to improve. Not only is it Bolden or Mashour but it’s also Yovel Zoosman who was in the starting 5 and played 20 minutes. Number 50 spoke about his development as a player and how he is pleased to get a chance to play but also knows that he needs to increase his aggressiveness and continue to learn. Zoosman wants to take advantage of every opportunity. It’s amazing as to how Spahija has changed as a leader since he last was on the Maccabi sidelines and how much he has gained by being an assistant in the NBA for 3 seasons. As I said, so far so good.
3) It was great to see both John DiBartolomeo and Willy Workman on the same court again, in fact the same parquet that they played their last game together on when they fell to Hapoel Jerusalem in the final last season. Even though they may be on different teams these days, they still have the utmost respect and friendship. “It was fun. I miss John,” Workman commented. “I wish I was still playing with him and I want to beat him more than anyone because I’m going to to have to hear from him. We work out in the summer and we are always competing with and against each other.” DiBartolomeo has similar sentiments for his good friend, “I miss Willy. We are good friends and he’s someone I like on and off of the court and I love playing with him. I love his intensity, I love what he brings. Maybe one day we can play together again. It was fun playing against him, he’s a competitor and he brings out the most of you and the intensity rises when he gets into the game. It was a good time and I’m glad we got the win.”
Maccabi Haifa needs help ASAP. Even though they were able to hang tight for the majority of the game, they just didn’t have the gasoline to take it all the way especially with a roster that is still missing some important pieces including new signee Reginald Buckner. Willy Workman commented on the issues when facing a team like the Yellow & Blue, “Maccabi Tel Aviv are so talented and so deep that they can go to their bench and have 5,6,7 great ball players. Depth is one of their strengths. We need to work on conditioning and we should be able to go 30-35 minutes.” With Buckner about to begin playing for Haifa, Workman and Head Coach Ofer Rahimi had this to say about the move, first Workman, “He’s a great player and controls the paint. He’s a real inside presence and can dunk and deters a lot of shots.” Rahimi added, “We haven’t played with a natural 5 and it’s hard on the defensive end with just Koperberg and Bowman. Reggie gives a lot of muscle under the basket and we need that.” Looks like Buckner’s arrival can’t come sooner for the Greens who were clearly undermanned.