Jerusalem primed for Hapoel TLV rematch, Play In or Playoff for Maccabi, Dadon Leumit, 50-pt

Mar 29, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

1) Jerusalem primed for revenge
There’s no question that Hapoel Jerusalem has one goal and one goal only in mind when they play Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday night in State Cup quarterfinal action at the Arena in the Capital City; win and avenge the brutal league loss they suffered at the hands of Danny Franco’s troops just a couple of weeks ago.

Since that defeat, Jerusalem was eliminated from Basketball Champions League contention as they fell to Karisiyaka and also saw their head coach Ilias Kantzouris part ways with the club after a disastrous term on the bench which saw the losses pile up one after the next. But now with assistant coaches Shai Olerarczyk and Theo Giannakopoulos and sports director Yonatan Alon managing the club, they have gone back to the principles that Aleksandar Dzikic set when he was in charge.

Shai Olerarczyk – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

“We are working as a team,” Olerarczyk said after this week’s State Cup first round win over Hapoel Galil Elyon. “Whatever the team needs that is what we will do, I don’t like the spotlight but it’s part of the job. We went back to things that we didn’t earlier this season and last year as well. Going back to our defensive principles as well was very important for the staff and the players. 

Khadeen Carrington – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Khadeen Carrington spoke about the chance to get back at Hapoel Tel Aviv after the stinging defeat to them, “We have to all look at ourselves if we have some basketball pride. They got us pretty good and our guys should be upset about that. We have to come out play hard.”

The bench boss added, “Every game against Hapoel Tel Aviv at home has to be managed differently than the one that took place two weeks ago. This upcoming game can’t be like what happened last one and we have to prepare properly. You have to win in the cup it doesn’t matter if it’s by one point or twenty and this is important. We are the cup holders and everyone wants to take that away from us.”

One thing is for sure, this upcoming game will not be like the last meeting between the two. Now let the best team win and move on!

Antonius Cleveland – Photo credit: Djorde Kostic

2) Play In or Playoff
Maccabi Tel Aviv picked up their 6th Euroleague victory in a row when they defeated Valencia back at their home away from home in Belgrade. The yellow-and-blue inched closer to an automatic quarterfinal spot with the win but with only two rounds of games to go their current 19-13 record just not may be enough as they still sit in 7th place.

The teams that need to win just keep on winning and that’s not going to be enough as Oded Katash’s crew may have to settle for 7th place and the Play In which would give then up to two “home” chances to make it to the quarters.

Maccabi will have a road game at Barcelona next week and then a date with Milano to end the season in Belgrade. Conceivably the yellow-and-blue can still make it through automatically, but the reality of the matter is, Katash should already be looking to make sure he puts his team in the best shape to ensure they advance to the postseason for his second straight campaign.

Oded Katash – Photo credir: Djorde Kostic

If the standings hold as they are right now, Maccabi will play Bologna in the Play In which should be a decent matchup for the yellow-and-blue as they split their season series, falling in their first meeting in December 100-90 while returning the favor 95-78 in January.

In fact, Bologna under the tutelage of Luca Banchi have lost five games in a row with the last one coming in dramatic fashion as Kendrick Nunn hit the game winner for Panathinaikos with no time left on the clock to send the Italians to yet another devastating defeat.

Banchi of course has had a long history coaching against Maccabi including when he was Milano’s bench boss back in 2014 when David Blatt’s yellow-and-blue ended up winning the Euroleague championship which is something that Katash would very much like to replicate.
The final two weeks of the season with no doubt be exhilarating.

Harel Dadon – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

3) Leumit Difference Maker
The Leumit League has been playing all season long with only Israelis and not the usual two import players as they have done in the past due to the war. This has allowed the Sabras the chance to show what they’ve got on the big stage and with a number of teams primed to move up to the top division the competition has been terrific.

One team trying to find the right ingredients to earn promotion is Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion who were a preseason favorite to do exactly that but for one reason or another, it took time for the talented team to mesh. As the campaign moved along, Rishon also made some adjustments and brought in a number of players including Harel Dadon who began the season with Maccabi Ramat Gan in the first division.

The Sports Rabbi spoke to Dadon after his team’s win over Elitzur Shomron earlier this week, “I’m very happy that after two losses we picked up the win. We are doing everything we can to get back onto the winning track.”

Harel Dadon and Shmulik Brener – Photo Credit: Yehuda

“The truth is that I was really happy to come to Maccabi Rishon,” Dadon said. “It’s a big club with ambitions and I really connected with their values. That’s what I’m here for, to give my all and help this club succeed and get to the place it deserves to be. I wouldn’t have come here if I wasn’t sure we could do it, everything starts with the chemistry of the team and our ‘togetherness’, and if we keep it we will succeed.”

“I don’t think I’m the difference maker, I came here to bring the things I know how best to do which is strong defense, he’ll lift up the whole team, aggressiveness and toughness and neuron that energy and ‘togetherness’. We can only succeed of we are together, there will be no success by just one person here but as an entire unit.”

And-1 50-Point Man
Nigel Hayes-Davis became the first player to score 50 points in a Euroleague game and he did it with style as his Fenerbahce swamped Alba Berlin 103-68 to stay inside the automatic playoff zone. But wow, what a performance as Hayes-Davis went 9/16 from deep, while starting the game off with 18 points in the first quarter followed by 3 in the second, 15 in the 3rd and 14 in the final frame or top Shane Larkin’s 49 points which was set back in 2019.

“I had it written in my notes at the beginning of the season that I wanted to break the scoring record this year,” Hayes-Davis said after his 50-point outing. “Right before the game, I texted my guys Jordan and Nate, and told them that I was feeling a Dejounte Murray game. I didn’t know I was going to score 50, I just knew I was going to shoot the ball a lot!

“But all the credit goes to my teammates. Once I got it going, they were doing a great job finding me – and an even bigger thanks goes to Ilker [Ucer, Fenerbahce’s communications and media relations manager] and the fans because the fans knew the scoring record was 49 and they started yelling at Saras [Jasikevicius] to put me back in. It was a club effort, team effort, and I’m very proud of myself for doing this. Very proud of myself and the work and everything I put in. It’s a great honor.”

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!