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Sweep: Maccabi moves onto the Final 4!

Dov Halickman Photography

Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Bnei Herzliya 105-68 to finish off a 3-game sweep and will head into the Israel Basketball League Final Four beginning on Monday June 12th at Yad Eliyahu. Quincy Miller led all scorers with 19 points while Victor Rudd chipped in 16 points and Yogev Ohayon dropped 13 points in the win. Jeff Adrien and Karam Mashour each scored 15 points for an overmatched Herzliya side.

Maccabi ran out to a 18-12 first quarter lead as Yogev Ohayon scored 6 points while Victor Rudd and Guy Pnini dropped 4 points a piece for the Yellow & Blue. Karam Mashour led the way for Herzliya with 8 points of his own in the frame. With the score sitting at 24-23 in favor of the hosts with 5:04 left in the half, Maccabi went on a 27-12 run to take a 51-35 lead at halftime. Quincy Miller did most of the damage with 12 points in the quarter as Gal Mekel and Rudd each had 7 points to give the Yellow & Blue a commanding 16-point advantage.

If you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Bnei Herzliya, then think again. Maccabi rattled off a 28-11 3rd quarter giving the hosts a 33-point advantage heading into the 4th which was all garbage time as the players padded their stats closing out a 105-68 victory and 3-game sweep. With the win, Maccabi heads to the Israel League Final Four which will begin on Monday June 12th.

Dov Halickman Photography


3-Pointers
1) Quincy Miller has been playing lead fiddle for a rejuvenated Maccabi as the power forward continued to dominate on all ends of the floor for the Yellow & Blue. With an MVP performance during the quarterfinal series against Bnei Herzliya, Miller has showed the Yellow & Blue faithful what he can really do. Defensively, Miller is a beast forcing the opposition to continuously change up their offensive sets while also pulling down rebounds. On the attack, Miller can post up, play down low while also hitting long range shots helping Maccabi spread the floor, move the ball around and threaten to score from almost anywhere on the court. Of course, when asked, Miller complimented his teammates saying he would have never been able to play the way he is doing without them and their support. He may be modest, but Miller must return to Maccabi for a full season so we can see exactly what he can do.

2) Herzliya was way way overmatched in this series especially with so many players hurt like Tom Mayaan and Or Leumi. Mickey Gorka said that he may have outwardly spoke about how they would be fine, but in reality knew that they had a very big uphill battle ahead of them with the squad that was at his disposal. All in all, Gorka did an amazing job with the team during the past year and should be commended for his efforts with Herzliya picking up the option on his contract. He was able to get the most out of arguably the best Israeli player from this past season Karam Mashour while also admirably playing in Europe as well. His team played entertaining and attractive ball and it was a pleasure to see them in action when they had a full complement of players. Sometimes life isn’t fair especially after Gorka defeated Maccabi in all three of their meetings during the regular season and I feel for him because he should’ve gotten a better deal in the playoffs.

Dov Halickman Photography


3) Arik Shivek has made basketball fun again for Maccabi Tel Aviv and I asked him about the 11 days off that he now has to face. Of course he said straight out that he’d much rather begin the Final Four this Monday and not next, but that’s the way the schedule is after sweeping away Herzliya. The Yellow & Blue will now have two days off to rest and recover and get back to practice next week. It’s really amazing to see how well Maccabi is playing now and the questions will begin to pop up about who will coach the team next season, why couldn’t they have played like this all year long, why did they have to get to coach number 5 until things seemed to jell, why wasn’t Shivek brought in last season after Guy Goodes was let go? All of the queries are legitimate but what is most important right now is that they are clicking on all cylinders and the Maccabi looks like the team to beat for the championship. Who in their wildest dreams would have thought that the Yellow & Blue could actually win the Double this season?

Dov Halickman Photography


Stats & Facts
Some stats last night were indicative of the three game sweep from Maccabi going 27/32 compared to 6/12 for Herzliya from the free throw line to the Yellow & Blue bench outscoring Herzliya’s 45-20. From beyond the arc Maccabi shot 12/25 while the visitors went only 4/21 and turnovers sat at 18 for Herzliya to 12 by Maccabi. It was a totally dominant performance in every aspect. Now Maccabi will have to wait to see who they will get in the Israel Basketball League Final Four Semifinals. Will it be Hapoel Holon or upstart Maccabi Haifa? In either case, the Yellow & Blue have an axe to grind so it will certainly be a terrific matchup.


Overtime
The defending Champs Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion took a 2-1 lead over Hapoel Eilat with a 70-63 win and will look to wrap up theri best of 5 series on Sunday at home. Cameron Long dropped 22 points for Rishon while Will Daniels scored 13 points for Eilat.