12 Final Toughts on the 2017/18 Basketball Final

1) Once Maccabi raced out to a 24-5 lead there was no way that Holon was going to be coming back from such a massive deficit so early in the game. The Yellow & Blue were totally focused on the task at hand and made sure to just blow the doors off of Holon early and often. The wire to wire victory seemed to never be in doubt as Maccabi was in just such better shape both physically and mentally the just ran Holon out of the arena.

2) Glen Rice Jr. had zero positive impact on the game. Sure he scored 14 points but after a few minutes on the floor he was gassed and totally out of breath. Holon was totally mistaken if they thought he was going to be the x-factor in the game, he never was going to be and never had a chance to after not being with the team for an extended period of time. Guy Pnini said prior to the game that practice with him it was as if he lever left, but reading Rice’s exclusive interview on one.co.il with Dubi Pick said to the contrary. Having no chemistry with the players and not having ever played a game with Jordan Hamilton made things strange for him on the court, he said. It certainly showed.

3) Jordan Hamilton was bitter at the referees following the game, “I thought the refs took us out of it. I feel like we didn’t get a fair shake.” But shooting only 2/7 for 7 points in 33 minutes tells me otherwise. Having never played with Rice and just being blitzed by Maccabi from the get to never gave Holon a chance. Add to that the fact that arguably Holon’s best offensive player since Rice left was Hamilton, if you want to win a title you’ve got to shoot more and also make more of your shots. ‘Nuff said.

4) John Dibartolomeo was lethal from beyond the arc and finished the night going 3/5 from long distance scoring 13 points on the evening. It was great to see John D lift the plate together with Itay Segev who had been the captain earlier in the season. I know his much he wanted to be a champion especially coming up short last season with Haifa and also just missed out winning the State Cup this past February when Maccabi fell to the same Holon. With John’s character and modesty will he be the next Tal Brody?

5) DeAndre Kane continued his development throughout the season and played a huge part of the win recording a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. His thundering dunk early on set the tone for the evening.

6) Jake Cohen was tremendous scoring 18 points and maturing throughout the season. I’d like to see him play a factor for years to come with Maccabi and also watch him flourish in the Euroleague.

7) What can you say about Jeremy Pargo? An amazing signing who made a massive difference so late in the season. He may have not had his best game in the final but he was tremendous against Nes Ziona in the quarterfinals. His I continue to think about what would have happened if Maccabi signed him back in January and he would have played in the Euroleague.

8) I’m surprised that TJ Cline and Shlomi Harush didn’t get more playing time, especially the captain Harush. It was disappointing to see them on the bench for the whole game, each playing roughly a minute a piece.

9) Michael Roll. Pure class. Great shot. Hard worker. Winner.

10) Alex Tyus was huge for Maccabi both in the semis and the finals earning a well dressed MVP. He was tremendous on both ends of the court and is aging like fine wine. He will be a huge asset to the Israel National Team in their games against Greece and Great Britain. He’s a class act and I just feel so badly for him and Deshaun Thomas who missed out on the celebrations because of the post game drug tests. What a shame.

11) Norris Cole. I don’t think we understood what a player we had here all season. An amazing talent, who always spoke to the press in the good times and in the not so good. When Pargo arrived it was like he finally found himself the partner on the court that he had been yearning for all season long. Cole said a number of times just how amazing it was to be able to play with Pargo and how comfortable he was with him on the court. He’s an NBA player folks and that’s where he’s headed next season. I can’t see him coming back to Maccabi especially when he’s getting accolades from one of the all-time greats, Dwayne Wade. My photographer son Dov also got in on the action.

12) Last but not least Coach Neven Spahija. As he admitted it was the toughest season of his career. No question it wasn’t easy both on and off of the court for the Croatian. Building a brand new team with 12 players who never played with each other, falling in the Cup Final, not making it into the quarterfinals of the Euroleague and only getting a point guard late in the season. But at the end of the day, Spahija showed that he had the goods and was able to bring Maccabi home to the league championship for the first time since 2014. Congratulations coach, championship well deserved.

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