Nes Ziona mounted a late game comeback to defeat Bnei Herzliya 80-74. Brad Greenberg’s squad used a 28-11 final frame to take their first victory of the season as Patrick Miller (19p/6a), Kwan Cheatham (18p/9R) along with veterans Tal Dunne (16p/8r) and Raviv Limonad (8p/5a) came through in crunch time. Frank Gaines led all scorers with 27 points, Kendall Anthony added 15 points but it wasn’t enough for Sharon Drucker’s team on this night.
1) Nes Ziona and Bnei Herzliya missed shot after shot and layup after layup all game long but when it counted most, Brad Greenberg’s squad put it together over the last ten minutes and began scoring in bundles. The hosts bumped up their shooting percentage from 29.1% to 37.9% as they couldn’t miss if they even tried to pouring in 28 points in the final frame to snatch the win. The key to the victory? Defense explained Greenberg, “We played really hard in the 4th quarter especially on defense and made some shots when it counted. We missed a lot of shots under the basket and had a rough night missing layup after layup what you would think would be high percentage shots. But sometimes that’s how it goes.”
2) The veteran bench boss got to see some of the best minutes his team as played so far this young campaign and was very pleased that some positive traits came out in the court, “We showed strong will and we haven’t showed that consistently and we haven’t showed that at the end of games even games where we had leads or were tight leads in the 4th quarter. Character and strength of some players came out and it was good to see.” He also talked about the determination of longtime Israeli basketball stalwarts Tal Dunne and Raviv Limonad, “We had some veterans on the court that were determined to win the game. I got to give a lot of credit to Tal and Raviv and Patrick Miller until he fouled out was physical and determined also to Lior Carrera on defense.”
3) We’ve got to spend some time on Patrick Miller as the Chicago, Illinois native was superb in Nes Ziona’s victory. The 28-year old just wants to win and his coach said those words three times in his following thoughts about the guard who he also compared to Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry. Now that’s high praise. “He’s a physical, tough guy who wants to win and wants to learn and likes challenges. He’s a penetrating guard and sometimes forces things a little bit thinking he can bounce off bodies kind of like a poor man’s Kyle Lowry, but he’s got heart and he wants to win and wants to be part of a team. I’m happy for him, he wants to win.”
What did the Tennessee State product have to say about the his maiden victory and the fourth quarter? “It feels good to get a win. We’ve been struggling and we’ve trying to find out what type of team we’re going to be. It feels good to win and we fought hard. We know we made mistakes but we kept playing and it worked out in our favor tonight. We were confident in that fourth quarter and we know we missed a lot of shots we could have made including layups and free throws. It just started going our way. We were aggressive, we picked it up, we attacked and executed at the end of the game and we got the win.”
Miller has been playing professional basketball abroad since the 2014/15 season when he joined Besiktas in Turkey and so far his career has also taken him to Serbia, Germany, France and now Israel which he is enamored by so far, “I love it although we haven’t been able to do much, but my family’s here. I’m glad to be a part of this league and I feel it’s a great league this year with a lot of talent on every team. I’m looking forward to all the matchups with the guards and I look at every game and I study. I’m excited and I’m looking forward to it and proving myself and proving what kind of team were going to be and hopefully finish at the top of the league.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv got by Maccabi Ashdod 75-69 in Israel State Cup action as the Yellow & Blue had issues all night with the Leumit League team. Oz Blayzer starred for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s club with 17 points, Tyler Dorsey added 16 points and Ante Zizic recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Durand Scott led all scorers with 28 points for Ashdod in the loss.