Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 81-68 and will advance to the Israel Basketball Final Four where they will play Hapoel Gilboa Galil in a one game semifinal on Sunday. The Yellow & Blue took the Israel Basketball League Derby quarterfinal series 2 games to 1 and will get ready to play in the prime time matchup at 21:15. In the early 18:30 game Hapoel Jerusalem will take on Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion.
Playing without the suspended Scottie Wilbekin, Maccabi needed a stellar game from Tyler Dorsey and received just what the doctor ordered. The guard sliced and diced the Reds defense for 26 points, pulled down 9 rebounds and dished out 7 assists in an all around allstar performance. Deni Avdija complimented Dorsey with a double double by scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 boards while Angelo Caloiaro was key in the win as well with 13 points. Yam Madar led Ioannis Kastritis’s squad with 18 points, while captain Tomer Ginat added 13 points in his last game with the club before moving to France for the 2020/21 season.
Without Scottie Wilbekin, an inspired Maccabi raced out to a 12-8 lead thanks to a pair of triples by Tyler Dorsey midway through the first quarter. Angelo Caloiaro scored and Deni Avdija got hot for the yellow-and-blue as he put his poor performance from game two to bed with 9 points as the hosts took a 26-15 advantage after 10 minutes of action.
Yam Madar started to score for the Reds as did Jordan Davis while Dorsey and Othello Hunter countered for Maccabi while the game began to heat up but the hosts stayed in front 37-27 with 4:18 left in the second quarter. Caloiaro drilled a corner triple but Talib Zanna, Tomer Ginat and Madar found the basket for Hapoel as they cut the lead to just two points, 43-41 at halftime.
Avdija opened the third quarter with a big dunk but Zanna answered with one of his own and points on the other side of the court as Hapoel took a 2-point lead 49-47 midway through the frame. Caloiaro and Jake Cohen hit back to back 3-pointers, Dorsey scored 8 straight points for Maccabi to head into the fourth quarter ahead 63-56.
Sek Henry scored the first field goal of the final frame as Karam Mashour and Ginat also found the bottom of the bucket for the Reds but Dorsey and Avdija did as well for Maccabi as the Yellow & Blue continued to lead 69-63 with 4:32 remaining in regulation. Avdija drained a triple, Amar’e Stoudemire scored inside a couple of times as Maccabi wrapped up the victory and will now ready to face Hapoel Gilboa Galil on Sunday.
Hapoel Gilboa Galil punched their ticket to the Final 4 with a 87-82 win over Hapoel Holon to wrap up their best of 3 quarterfinal series 2 games to 1. The hosts held Gilboa Galil at bay for three quarters but finally broke through as Iftach Ziv and Akil Mitchell helped Lior Lubin’s squad to a big final frame to pull out the victory. Gilboa Galil returns to the Final 4 for the first time in 9 years and will now have to contend with Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday as they will look to punch their ticket to the league final.
Iftach Ziv scored 24 points, pulled down 6 rebounds and added 4 assists, Akil Mitchell notched a double double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Joe Thomasson and Michael Young each chipped in with 15 points a piece. Shavon Coleman led Holon with 23 points and Jimmy Hall scored 18 points in the loss.
Akil Mitchell spoke to The Sports Rabbi following the game, “Holon are talented and a difficult team to match up with. We knew we had to give our everything and I’m proud of my team for coming out with the win. Now we are going to the Final 4 which I know is important to this team and to me personally as well, to be able to play against the best and play at a high level and maybe win a championship.”
It’s clear that Iftach Ziv and Mitchell have a terrific connection and the forward credited the guard for another fantastic performance, “Iftach was incredible tonight. He had some big defensive plays plays and his ability to get to the rim, our connection is only getting better and he can be one of our most important weapons for the Final 4. We are excited and I’m excited to see Maccabi in the next round and Iftach will be a big part in it.”