Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Beer Sheva 89-79 thanks to the dynamic duo of James Feldeine and J’Covan Brown who combined for 52 points off of the bench in the victory. Jordan Swing (21 points) and Taylor Braun (20 points) tried to keep the visitor’s close, but the Reds firepower was just too much for Rami Hadar’s squad to handle as they fell by ten points.
Beer Sheva jumped out to a 11-3 lead but Jerusalem stormed back with a 12-4 run as the side’s ended the first quarter all knotted up at 15-15. Feldeine and Brown went to work in the second frame by scoring 12 points a piece as Jerusalem took a 42-29 lead into halftime.
Beer Sheva came out hot following the break and went on a 9-2 run with Donaldson, Braun and Swing doing most of the damage but the Feldeine and Brown combo brought the visitor’s back down to earth and Jerusalem took a 67-51 advantage after 30 minutes. Swing came out swinging in the final frame and scored 7 points on a 11-1 Beer Sheva run to cut the Jerusalem lead to 68-62 with 6:35 remaining in the contest. But another key Feldeine triple gave the host’s some breathing room as they finished off a 89-79 win.
1) Feldeine who scored 27 points going 5/7 from 3-point land spoke about the play that helped them pull away from Beer Sheva for good after the visitor’s had cut the lead to 68-62, “He drew up a play coming out of the timeout and TB (Tamir Blatt) made a drive and he kicked it and I knew I needed to make a play for the team. We were kind of down and we were struggling both offensively and defensively and I knew I had to make a big shot.”
2) The dynamic duo of Feldeine and J’Covan Brown (25 points) coming off the bench has been the key to the season for Jerusalem. Very few teams can match their 52 points on any night regardless if they start or not. Brown shared his thoughts about not being in the starting lineup, “I think it’s overrated. Starting doesn’t matter. It matters what you do on the court. We have a great group of guys and whoever coach puts on the floor we all have to ready be at the same time. Starting or not staring has never crossed my mind. I just go out there and do my job and help my team find a way to win games.” Feldeine concurred with his teammates thoughts on starting, “Coach gives me a lot of confidence and it doesn’t really matter if I start or not. I don’t really care too much about that.” Coach Oded Katash expressed the same feelings during the press conference, “The main reason that J’Covan and James, who are amazing players don’t start is that I believe that starting is overrated and it’s different than when I played where you had a starters and the bench players. It really doesn’t matter in today’s game when there is a rotation. It’s like James said that it doesn’t matter if a player starts or comes off of the bench.”
3) It may be true in Jerusalem’s case where they have a rotation of so many quality players and that’s without an injured Chris Johnson and Amare Stoudemire who isn’t registered for the Israeli league. But most teams don’t have the luxury of a squad like Jerusalem’s. In essence they desperately rely on their starters to make an impact in the game and score the majority of their points like Beer Sheva who had 19 points off the bench, which is actually a good number. Rami Hadar spoke about his side’s performance, “We played a quality team that was able to score from the outside. We came back a number of times but that was the game. We lost three very good defenders and that has been an issue for us. But I’m proud that we are the second best defensive team in the league.”
Birthday boy Tashawn Thomas looked ahead to the upcoming game against Hapoel Tel Aviv on Saturday night and at Klaipeda Neptunas on Wednesday in Lithuania, “Any W is good but on top of my Birthday made it even sweeter. Definitely Tel Aviv is tough as were the games I played there last year. We’re going to try to take it one game at a time and focus that way. But looking ahead to Neptunas, it’s a really important game and we want to get the advantage especially coming back home. It’s going to be tough because it’s the Champions League Playoffs. We are going to try and go in there and steal the first one.” Brown also chimed in on the month ahead, “We got to be hungry, stay hungry and stay focused. It’s a big month for us with the Champions League we just got to stay together and have fun.”