Hapoel Jerusalem edged Maccabi Tel Aviv 83-82 thanks to Adam Ariel’s heroic 3-pointer as the clock expired to snatch the win from the jaws of defeat to end the regular season on a high note. Both teams went back and forth throughout the matchup but the Yellow & Blue opened up a double digit lead in the third quarter.
However, the Reds came storming back to take the lead late in the game but Scottie Wilbekin was a one man show that helped give Maccabi an 82-79 lead with a massive triple with just under 24 seconds to go. But after silencing the crowd the star guard was handed a technical foul that cut the advantage to just 2-points, 82-80 giving Ariel the chance to win the game on a last gasp heave from beyond the arc to send the Jerusalem faithful into pandemonium.
Suleiman Braimoh who hit the technical foul shot scored 22 points and 12 rebounds, Tamir Blatt added 20 points and a career high 14 assists while Ariel scored 15 points in the dramatic win. Wilbekin led all scorers with 27 points and 10 rebounds as Chris Jones, Angelo Caloairo and Oz Blayzer all scored 10 points in the defeat.
With his father David in the stands, Tamir Blatt opened the Jerusalem scoring with a triple while Sulieman Braimoh and Idan Zalmanson scored a pair of easy baskets in the paint to give the hosts an early 7-4 lead over Maccabi Tel Aviv midway through the first quarter. Scottie Wilbekin drilled home a pair of 3-pointers, Ante Zizic scored two baskets inside while Omri Casspi found points as well to counter Julian Boyd’s buckets to give the yellow-and-blue a 24-21 advantage after ten minutes of play.
Chris Jones went from beyond the arc, John DiBartolomeo and Oz Blayzer scored in the paint as did Othello Hunter for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team as Braimoh continued to pour in the points for Yonatan Alon’s squad but Maccabi stayed in front 33-27 with six minutes left in the second quarter. Braimoh continued to find the basket as did Blatt but Wilbekin and Hunter made sure to keep Maccabi ahead 43-41 at halftime.
Wilbekin and Blayzer started the third quarter off by going from downtown, Casspi put down a dunk as did Yovel Zoosman as Maccabi broke open the game to take a 57-45 lead midway through the period. Wilbekin kept finding points but Boyd, Blatt, Zalmanson and a triple from Adam Ariel kept the Reds in the game down by six points, 67-61 after thirty minutes of action.
Chris Kramer got his first points of the game by opening the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer while Blatt and Ariel added triples of their own to give Hapoel a 73-71 lead with 6:25 left in regulation time. Wilbekin took matters into his own hands down the stretch as the guard hit his free throws scored a runner and then hit a triple to take a 82-79 lead with 23 seconds to go in the game.
However the guard silenced the crowd and was handed a technical for his efforts which was promptly scored by Braimoh to cut the advantage to 82-80. With under a second left on the clock Ariel put up a 3-pointer that swished through the net to hand Jerusalem the one point win in front of their home fans.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 99-93 thanks to a huge fourth quarter that saw the hosts outscore the Reds 31-16 to notch the victory. Despite taking the win Guy Goodes’s team was eliminated from postseason play after Hapoel Beer Sheva downed Maccabi Haifa down south. Akil Mitchell starred for the the wine city squad with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and an efficiency rating of 47, Tal Peled recorded his career high with 23 points, Golan Gutt added 16 points and Noam Dovrat who picked up an injury late in the game chipped in with 14 points and 10 assists. JP Tokoto led the way for Danny Franco’s team with 21 points, 8 boards and 12 assists, Justin Tillman added 18 points and 8 rebounds while Paul Stoll checked in with 18 points in the loss.
Hapoel Beer Sheva punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 85-76 win over Maccabi Haifa in the desert capital. The Greens who are battling against relegation began the game well and grabbed a 23-12 lead after the first frame, but the hosts came roaring back before halftime to snatch a 42-38 advantage. Haifa tried to pull off a late game comeback but it wasn’t enough to take the win as Rami Hadar’s team moved into postseason play. Spencer Weisz scored 15 points and added 9 assists, Eric Thompson scored 19 points, Amit Suss chipped in with 14 points while Nick Hornsby and Travis Warech each scored 11 points in the win. Chris Dowe led Amit Ben David’s team with 24 points and Kalin Lucas added 14 points in the loss.