1) Deni Avidja has yet another fine showing as the Israeli prodigy looks to continue to move in the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery ranks. What type of showing you ask? How about a tidy 18 points going 5/5 from 2pt, 2/5 from 3pt, 2/2 ft, 5 rebounds, a steal an assist and a 24 efficiency rating in 21 minutes. But it wasn’t just his stats that were again jaw dropping, it was also when he got those points at the start of the game and in Maccabi’s dominant 3rd quarter where they outscored Holon 33-8. Not a bad night of work and he didn’t even break out a sweat. I asked Captain Jake Cohen what differences he’s seen in Avdija since coming back from the break, “I think he’s playing really well I think he’s playing slower, which sounds like a bad thing but I think it’s great. He’s taking his time and making really good decisions. He rushed a bit in the past to try to get home runs, now he’s taking the game a bit slower and he’s taking what they give him. He has been playing great and is a huge asset for us.” Coach Ioannis Sfairpoulos shares his thoughts on Deni’s game thus far, “First of all he is more committed to the plan of the team and he’s more focused to perform good on defense. Offensively he is a player who can do a lot of things, passing, defending, low post, outside inside, he has a very complete game offensively and defensively.” Quite the praise, his next test will be Hapoel Jerusalem on Monday night.
2) How about Amar’e Stoudemire? What did he do against Holon? 15 points on 6/7 from the field and 5/6 from the charity stripe, 4 boards and an efficiency rating of 19 on 20 minutes of action. Just like Avdija, STAT made his impact felt in the opening frame and right after halftime. That’s a pretty nice 1-2 punch, plus it’s great that you are seeing a fiend NBA all star playing with the future of the greatest league in the world. “The first half was pretty even but we were much more aggressive in the second half and picked up the pace,” the big man shard after the game. “The last few months were tough and we had to get back into shape without fans but we all love the game and are happy to be back. We’re working on our chemistry and getting used to the new situation while following the health ministry’s regulations.”
3) We shouldn’t forget about Jake Cohen who continues to put in one performance after the next scoring 16 points in 15 minutes, not bad at all. How did he see the game? “I think the guys who started the third quarter did a great job, they turned around the game. They set the tone for the second half and had the momentum. I give a lot of credit for those guys for how they started.” Cohen also looked ahead to the game against their biggest rival, Jerusalem on Monday and how the can carry over from last game, “It’s another good step for us.”
It was tough to see such a proud team like Holon getting plastered by close to 40 points. I’m not sure when that happened last. Shavon Coleman was out with a groin injury, veteran sharp shooter Guy Pnini scored 1 point in 26 minutes, and Jermaine Love mustered up a half a dozen points for the purples. It’s very hard to win when that’s the situation. On the bright side, Jimmy Hall continued his fine play with 19 points and 8 rebounds as he looms to secure a Winner League contract for next season while Desi Washington added 11 points with a pair of triples. But at the end of the day that’s nowhere near enough. Coach Amit Sherf shared his thoughts, “In the first half we were in control. We played offensively well and on the defense we did not let a lot of second chance points and fast break points, but in the second half we weren’t there at all.”