Jerusalem struggling and slumping, Fabulous Israeli hoops, Hapoel Tel Aviv shows heart + Goodes & Holon, Maccabi & Haifa

Jan 10, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem fell to Hapoel Galil Elyon 89-83 and are now just one game over .500 in Israeli League play which can’t be something that the club and coach are happy about. In fact, Reds bench boss Aleksandar Dzikic was less than thrilled with his team’s showing, “I’m not disappointed, I’m concerned about this performance. We’re not talented enough to turn it on and off whenever we want. There are other teams in the league that might be able to do it, we can’t.”

If I were coach Dzikic I would most definitely be concerned with this showing especially with an Israel State Cup quarterfinal game coming up at Hapoel Tel Aviv as well as the Basketball Champions League Round of 16 group stages. Losing the battle of the boards 38-26, giving up almost 50 points in the first half and allowing the Galilee squad the chance to shoot 29 free throws compared to 17 is never going to be the right ingredients to win a game.

Aleksandar Dzikic – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

“We lack discipline and concentration, you can’t play the game whenever you want and scoring 49 points at halftime is not good, that’s not the way we play when we win,” Dzikic concluded.

Jerusalem certainly has personnel issues right now with Levi Randolph on the shelf with an injury for the time being, Noam Dovrat being lost for the season, Brandon Brown still trying to hit his stride and Noam Yaacov who just joined the Reds and did not play against Galil Elyon. However, with the BCL about to get the Round of 16 underway along with the State Cup, Dzikic will need to figure out a way to get back into the swing of things as they are 1-4 in their last 5 Israeli league games which for Jerusalem is just not going to be enough to cut it.

Noam Yaacov – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Against Galil Elyon, the Reds lost to a team that is playing with not only a very short roster but also one that is featuring just 3 imports right now as a fourth Devyn Marble was signed this week in place of Jalen Hudson. Dzikic had 5 imports on his roster and while he can be concerned about his team, he will need to be the one to pull them out of the fire with the BCL on deck. The coach knows that the lack of success in Europe over the years is something very concerning and while they enter the next stage with a 5-1 record from the first round, that is now moot with in essence a new season about to begin.


Guy Goodes – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Guy Goodes and Hapoel Holon have a number of critical games coming up both in the Basketball Champions League and the Israel State Cup. Will his indecisiveness in the loss to Herzliya prove costly? Find out by CLICKING HERE!

Ironi Ness Ziona – Photo Credit:

There were two fabulous Israeli league games on Monday night that some would have written right off from the get go as Hapoel Beer Sheva was up north at Kiryat Ata and Nes Ziona went down south at Hapoel Eilat. Let’s begin with the second game first as Nes Ziona travelled to the Rea Sea and went up against a tough Eilat team that had looked brutal in their last game out against Maccabi Tel Aviv. But with about to be named new head coach Maurizio Buscaglia in attendance (story broken by The Sports Rabbi) the players showed that they indeed cared and played Nes Ziona tooth and nail as they themselves were on a 3 game losing streak. The game went back and forth but Elad Hasin’s team finally were able to take the 80-79 win as he set up a play for Ronnie Harrell as time wound down that resulted in a foul and a pair of free throws that the forward hit to wrap up the victory. Eilat showed some signs of life and that is good news as Buscaglia takes over the reins.

In Kiryat Ata, we got another barnburner of a game that saw David Efiyani nail a game winning 3-pointer to give the southern reds the win. Kiryat Ata had a chance as time expired but the ball was fumbled in the paint and Lior Lubin’s team who had looked awfully bad for the first couple of months of the season are now riding high taking the 96-95 victory.

David Efiyani – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Each game ended with a 1-point victory by the visiting team and at the end of the day, the Israeli league has got to be happy with a very competitive round of play and it shows that any basketball fan can enjoy games around the Holy Land and not just games from the “Big Teams.”

Now Beer Sheva will tip-off against Nes Ziona in State Cup quarterfinal action in the southern capital on Saturday night in a game that Hasin will want to get in order to advance to the semifinals and also exact some revenge on the loss a few weeks ago to the same club.

Jalen Adams – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Pressure, tension, intensity, guile and one officiating error: Maccabi and Haifa play a game that had it all – Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Haifa played one of the most dramatic games of the season. Find out how it ended and what comes next BY CLICKING HERE!

Danny Franco – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Hapoel Tel Aviv looked like they were in utter shock as last place Hapoel Gilboa Galil raced out to a quick double digit lead over the EuroCup squad. However, as the game continued on Danny Franco’s team began to cut down the advantage and as the clock hit 0:00 to end the game they had the upper hand in a 81-71 victory up at Gan Ner.

Hapoel Tel Aviv were smashed last week at Herzliya and that is where this game without Chinanu Onukau was heading. But Franco’s team was able to pull it together with a solid defensive performance in the second half to sew up the win.

“We found our heart,” the bench boss began. “This game was similar to the one at Herzliya and that just can’t be. I am happy that we were able to use our depth and bringing aggressiveness and intensity to hold Gilboa to only 19 second half points and we were able to create turnovers and take advantage of them.”

Franco also felt that the poor start was due to it being a mental issue, “It’s primarily in the head. I have get ahold of each player and they must take more responsibility which is what I said at the half. No one will touch the ball or shoot it if they are not playing defense the way we want them to. We have a great group of guys with no ego but we need to bring our best intensity and defense that we saw that we can do.”

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