Israel Basketball Playoff Action! Maccabi takes 2-0 series lead

Maccabi Haifa put the smackdown on Hapoel Holon 101-70 to even up their best of 5 quarterfinals series. Jon Dibartolomeo scored 28 points in the win for the Greens, going 6/11 from 3-point land. Oz Blayzer dropped 13 points while Gregory Vargas dished out 8 assists to go along with 12 points. Tu Holloway led Holon with 21 points as Jordan Taylor added 16 in the loss. Haifa hit 15 shuts from beyond the arc while causing the visitors to cough up the ball 18 times on the way to the easy win.

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion defeated Hapoel Eilat 97-73 thanks to 18 points from Charles Thomas and strong play by Idan Zalmanson with 14 points and 7 rebounds as the champs evened up the best of 5 Quarterfinals series. Patrick Richard contributed 14 points while Israelis Nitzan Hanochi and Elishay Kadir each scored 12 points a piece in the win. Chanan Colman dropped 13 points in the loss as Afik Nissim and Will Daniels had 12 points each.

Maccabi Tel Aviv took a 2-0 best of 5 Quarterfinals series lead over Bnei Herzliya with a superb 89-63 win. Quincy Miller scored 19 points while DJ Seely dropped 17 points in the win. Yogev Ohayon was a fantastic facilitator handing out 9 assists on the night.

Maccabi Tel Aviv came out of the blocks in fine form outscoring Herzliya 20-4 over the last five minutes of the first quarter to take a 31-14 lead after ten minutes of action. DJ Seely led the way for the Yellow & Blue with 10 points in the frame while Andrew Goudelock dropped 8. The second quarter saw Maccabi extend their lead by another point as Victor Rudd hit a pair of 3’s while the team drained 9/16 from long distance. Herzliya on the other hand struggled mighty from beyond the arc going 1/8 as the halftime score stood at 52-34.

The visitors opened up the 3rd quarter going on an 11-4 run as Quincy Miller scored a quick 8-points helping Maccabi to a 30-point lead 73-43 after 30 minutes of action as the team’s headed into a 4th quarter of garbage time galore with the contest ending 89-63 in favor of the Yellow & Blue. Brandon Trish scored 16 points while Jeff Adrien dropped 14 points in the loss for Bnei Herzliya.

3-Pointers from 3 Games

1) Maccabi Head Coach was certainly content with his team’s effort as they cruised to a 26-point victory over Bnei Herzliya. But I believe that he had the best quote of the evening when he finished off his press conference saying that he changed around the quote: “When you win you are happy,” to “When you are happy you will win.” The Yellow & Blue couldn’t have been better playing lock down defense, hitting shot after shot while going 14/28 from downtown. The only concern over Shivek’s first couple of games is that Sylven Landesberg has not been able to get anything going playing 9+ minutes and shooting 0/4 from the field. Most of his time came during the 4th quarter when the game was long done.

2) Maccabi Haifa couldn’t have played any better Saturday night when they demolished first place Hapoel Holon by more than 30 points. Leading the way was Westport Connecticut product John Dibartolomeo who scored 28 big points in an absolutely dominating performance. Owner Jeff Rosen was at the game as Haifa evened up their playoff series. It should be noted that game 1 went into double overtime and could have easily gone the Greens way which should certainly be very concerning to coach Dan Shamir. No one gave Ofer Rahimi’s team a chance but not have they been good so far. Rahimi also received a contract extension following the game which was rightfully deserved as the former assistant coach been a terrific head man and a mensch all season long.

3) If anyone thought that the defending champs Rishon Le’Zion were closing up ship once they lost down south to Eilat, then think again. Rishon took care of business at home with was actually a subpar game by Star Shawn Dawson as they received stellar play from Charles Thomas, Idan Zalmanson, Elisha Kadir and others. If they do have any thoughts of making it to the Final Four they will need an all around effort from the entire team against Eilat.

I asked Jeff Adrien about his reaction of the court in the second half when the game was out of reach for Bnei Herzliya and he said that he was sticking up for his team. It’s one thing if you play hard but it’s another if playing rough may lead to another injury which they have plenty of. He called out “Number 11” or Itay Segev for his play and said that he would defend his teammates and do whatever necessary to make sure there would be no problems for his guys.

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