Hapoel Jerusalem stunned Fuenlabrada in Madrid 105-75 as the Reds were firing on all cylinders. Jerusalem took a 20-point, 57-37 lead into the second half as Da’Sean Butler (14p) and Amare Stoudemire (13p) led the way over the first twenty minutes of action. Oded Katash’s squad continued to pound away over the course of the second half as Amare ended with 24 points and 7 rebounds in only 13 minutes of action while Jerusalem outrebounded the host’s 54-24 with 24 boards being of the offensive variety. Butler finished his night with 20 points and 9 rebounds, James Feldeine dropped 15 points while Tamir Blatt added 11 points and 8 assists. Christian Eyenga (14p) and Zanna (10p) led Fuenlabrada in the loss.
1) Welcome back Tashawn Thomas. Coming off a suspension for a banned substance, Thomas looked mighty fine in his 2018/19 debut scoring 11 points in 21 minutes going 4/5 from the field while pulling down 5 rebounds. In Europe, Thomas can play the 4 and in Israel he can play the 5 as he put in minutes side by side with Amare in the second half. Having Thomas back in the saddle is yet another weapon available for Oded Katash’s team. Thomas spoke about his first game for the Reds, “It feels really good after just watching for that long which was tough. It was good to be out there with the team. We played for the full 40 minutes and didn’t let up. They came with a couple of runs but we responded and got the score back up and keeping the same energy the whole game is what helped us.”
2) J’Covan Brown went down in a heap right before halftime as he twisted his left ankle and needed to be helped off the floor after being down for a few minutes in pain. Brown needs to be given time to heal properly if Jerusalem wants to make a dent in League and Champions League play. He’s a valuable asset who can not only shoot the ball but also dish it out at will. In 12 minutes of play Brown scored 5 points and picked up 6 assists and should he be out for an extended period of time, Jerusalem will feel his absence.
3) Amare Stoudemire had one of those turn back the clock games scoring 24 points in 13 minutes. Stat dominated the paint and made sure to make the most out of every single minute he was in the court. “We did a great job defensively today and that translated to the offensive game.” Stoudemire said about the game that was. “It’s always a challenge to play in Europe with different rules and it takes time to learn the style of play. But the coaching staff allows me to work and get in good shape to adjust to the style of play here in Europe.” He also spoke about how he’s been able to keep going when some thought his career was nearing its end, “It’s in God’s hands at this point. I just work really hard, stay positive and focus on the game of basketball. I try to out forth the effort and if I work hard enough to keep my body in good shape then who knows. But I got to stay in top fitness and go from there.”
Da’Sean Butler was having a good time and why not. He set the tone in the first half with 14 points and shot 6/7 with four 3-pointers in the game. Add to that 9 rebounds, a +40(,) and an efficiency rating of 27 and you have one very complete game. It’s good to see Butler putting up those stats and leading the team. He’s a super positive guy, great teammate and is just a terrific all around player.
Oded Katash spoke about his team’s win, “It was a great win for us against a good team. Most of the job we did defensively, we first focused to cut their cheap points in fast breaks and offensive rebounds. We did a great job on those two parameters and we controlled the rebounds. We did an amazing job on the rebounds in the first half which was a key. I’m very happy with the attitude of the players.”
Hapoel Holon defeated Opava 88-72 in Champions League Basketball action. With the score 64-60 heading into the 4th quarter, Holon ripped off a 24-12 frame to pick up the 16-point victory. Darion Atkins was the catalyst over the last ten minutes and finished the game with 16 points while Dequan Jones dropped 23 points as TJ Cline and Corey Walden each contributed 14 points a piece in the victory as the win moves Holon’s record to 3-1.
Nes Ziona blew away Pardubice 111-77 in Europe Cup play. The host’s put away the game in the second half where they outscored the Czech Republic squad 58-33 to run away with 34 point win. Chris Dowe (17p), Daequan Cook (15p) and Golan Gutt (12p) paced Nes Ziona as they moved their record to 2-1 in group play.