While Maccabi Tel Aviv knocked off Hapoel Eilat 96-74 down south after getting blasted at Baskonia, perhaps the most important thing was that head coach Oded Katash was able to rest both of his star guards and also split the minutes up to the rest of the squad especially to players who have not been getting much playing time. Israeli league games are the perfect opportunity to see Jake Cohen, Iftach Ziv, Guy Pnini and Rafi Menco all get major on court time because they are barely playing in the Euroleague. However, since it’s a very long season with the potential for injuries and exhaustion, the game at Eilat was just what the doctor ordered as Israelis played over 120 of the 200 game minutes available.
Jake Cohen (14p) who is raising funds and awareness about men’s health for Movember spoke about what it’s like to be called upon when needed in these types of situations, “To be a part of Maccabi Tel Aviv one needs to know how to play well when you’re not getting a lot of minutes on the court. I think that there aren’t many players who can do that and that is one of the advantages that I have here. No matter what I will play hard with the hope that my minutes will increase but one also has to stay patient. Everything that has happened in my career up until now has given me the experience to handle this type of situation.”
Hapoel Jerusalem put on a defensive clinic to shut down Hapoel Haifa and Anthony Hickey 74-57 as Speedy Smith played a massive role in Aleksandar Dzikic’s game plan. Noam Dovrat is also starting to flourish with Smith by his time. Find out how the Reds downed Hapoel Haifa and where things stand in the capital city by CLICKING HERE.
Hapoel Tel Aviv knew full well what was waiting for them when they tipped off against Rami Hadar’s Hapoel Gilboa Galil; a rough and tumble “Rami Ball” style of game. Fortunately for the Reds, J’Covan Brown who has been dealing with a number of nagging injuries was able to play and boy did he play as he notched 21 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 fouls drawn in 31 minutes of play in the 86-81 victory. J’Covan, is shall we say a unique player that every team would love to have him on. When he plays you know you are going to get a brilliant playmaker and scorer of the highest level with the key being he’s got to stay healthy which has been challenging at times throughout his tenure in Israel.
But as head coach Danny Franco knows, J’Covan is J’Covan, “He’s got his own rules. I didn’t sleep well at night because he didn’t finish the practice session on Saturday and I had to take a risk as to who to register for this game before 7pm. But since I knew this game was right before the break I registered him and what would be, would be. There was a thought that this was a recurring injury from one that he had last season, But we will need to know how to win games without him and games like this one we needed to as well.
Hapoel Holon had to score points a plenty in Beer Sheva and that’s what they did as they took a 101-94 win on the road. Beer Sheva has not played an ounce of defense this season so it was no surprise that they would give up oodles of points and Holon was more than happy to score them with 5 players in double digits. While Lior Lubin has issues with his team, Guy Goodes has some with his Holon squad as well. Kenneth or Kenny (Not yet quite sure what he preferred) Kadji’s time with the club has come to an end. The big man was off and on and on and off for the couple of months he was in Israel and Goodes explained he was getting in shape, he’s not yet in shape, now he is in shape… well you get the picture there was never really a point in time that Kadji was a factor with the team. Sure he showed flashes but in his 3 minutes or so in Beer Sheva it was clear that this was going to be the last time he would be playing for the club. He looked so disinterested to be on the court that it seemed he was already on the airplane out of the country.
On the plus side, there was signs of life from Shawn Dawson who finished the game with 8 points. An active Dawson would be a huge step for Holon as they have had so many issues this season with the Israeli or lack of Israeli contingent. A sign of life was very good news and while he has had issues if he can build off of this game, Goodes would be a pig in mud and one happy camper.
Tyler Bey has been a critical player for Nes Ziona as they have made waves in the Israeli after getting off to a 3-1 start under new head coach Elad Hasin who has made sure to keep his team level headed and on course to be the surprise package of the year. As Bey says they are putting the league on notice, find out just how by CLICKING HERE.
Hapoel Galil Elyon had been struggling a bit, especially defensively but the Upper Galilee squad took out Bnei Herzliya just ahead of the international break 95-89 to move their record to within one game of .500 at 2-3. While the defense still needs work, better to win and then work on it than the other way around as they say. When you look at the Galil Ellyon roster you see some very high quality people and players which includes Bryce Washington who is in his second season with the team, the always upbeat and smiling Deishuan Booker as well as big time scorer Jalen Hudson who put down 31 points in the victory.
Washington spoke about what Hudson who is averaging 21 2 points and 7.2 boards brings to the table, “Jalen is a high level scorer. His athleticism, his speed at that size is great. And he wants to win, he is a leader and a great teammate. He helps us a lot and he had a big game.”
I also had the privilege to meet Booker at the Nes Ziona vs Kiryat Ata game and boy is he a gentleman. But don’t let that fool you as he is a killer on the court with 9 points and 11 assists in the win while he is averaging 15 points and 6.8 helpers per contest.
— Sports Rabbi (@thesportsrabbi) November 7, 2022
The one downside for Galil is that their sports director Yonatan Alon decided to move back to Hapoel Jerusalem where he will hold the same role. He certainly helped build a solid base and will look to help do the same in the capital city.