Maccabi Tel Aviv got back on the winning track with an old fashioned drubbing of Hapoel Beer Sheva down south to the tune of 91-58. So ugly was this game especially in the fourth quarter where the Yellow & Blue outscored the hosts 32-12 it was as if Lior Lubin’s squad just quit and it’s not as if they were out of the game after thirty minutes, but they just lay down and played dead. It was sad to see a team with no fight, no desire and no interest at all. Following the game, Lubin spoke about how the team missed many shots and couldn’t find a way to stay in the game against a team like Maccabi Tel Aviv but let’s be honest that was just not the case as to why Beer Sheva was demolished. The club has made some positive changes by bringing in Greg Whittington and that paid off last week with a win at Bnei Herzliya but there is a major lack of inconsistency from his team.
The only bright light from this game was Premier League rookie Roie Paretzky who scored 9 points, grabbed 2 boards while dishing out 3 assists while adding 3 steals. In close to 20 minutes of play, Paretzky did lay it all out on the line and showed no fear against Maccabi which was great to see.
“We very much believe in him,” Lubin said. “He has a lot of confidence and abilities on both sides of the ball. We believe in while he also makes mistakes which is natural for a younger player. Hopefully he can continue this way going forward.”
Over on the Maccabi Tel Aviv ledger, coach Oded Katash challenged his players to hold Beer Sheva to under 70 points and did even better than that to keep them at 58 points almost as many as the Yellow & Blue scored in the second half alone (55). For a team that has had lots of problems on defense in the Euroleague one can say that this was a good start.
Big man Josh Nebo who will be even more important to the team going forward without Alex Poythress will need to step up in continental play which is something that he is well aware of and the fact that his numbers have slipped from last season.
“I don’t think it’s anything specifically to it and I just have to rebound the ball which is what I do. It’s still early in the season and a long way to go. it’s just me being more assertive on that side of the ball and I’m aware of that and I take that personally as a player and I am sure that I will improve a lot on that area throughout the rest of the season.”
One last shout out to Iftach Ziv who put on a stellar showing with 19 points in his best game of the season. Katash needs to play him more and more and more in the Israeli league so he can continue to work on his game and then perhaps both sides will have more confidence when he plays in the Euroleague.
Hapoel Jerusalem keeps on rolling and Aleksandar Dzikic’s tough love has been working very well as the squad has bought into his style and approach, especially as the team keeps winning and winning and winning. Check out the latest on the Reds HERE!
Hapoel Tel Aviv went into a tough Holon arena and came away with a 79-74 win as the Reds were able to keep Erick Green in check while also holding the percentage from deep to a pitiful 10/38 for 26%. In addition, without a healthy J’Covan Brown, both Jordan McRae and Xavier Munford put up 20+ points a piece which also helped the cause in a 4th quarter comeback win. Holon will look to get back in the win column when they face Ray McCallum and Legia Warsaw in order to keep their hopes alive to get a bye into the Round of 16 Group Stage and skip the Play In tournament in Basketball Champions League action. At worst they will at least want to ensure a 2nd place finish to have home court advantage should they have to take part in the Play In. Over on the Reds side, they will look to pick up a win in Hamburg in EuroCup play as there will be over 600 fans helping create a home court feel. Lots of fun coming up in continental competition.
Nes Ziona keeps on rolling and while they jumped out to a big lead against Hapoel Gilboa Galil and then had to hold on to take a 94-90 win, Elad Hasin’s squad is one heck of a group of guys with tons of character. Hasin went on to mention almost every player during his post game comments and how everyone made a contribution to the win, but above all wree the due of Tyler Bey and Shaq Buchanan with 30 points each! Those are crazy numbers and when you add in assist machine DJ Cooper, they have a trip of players who can run with any other team out there.
“It’s just hard work and the basketball gods as coach always talks about,” Bey said. “I have great teammates and a great point guard and it’s all in Gods favor. We are stacked, anyone can have 30 a game, we believe in each other and we are going to keep it going for the rest of the season. As for DJ, I’ve never been with a point guard like him. He’s a great leader and he’s good off and on the court and shows up everyday. He’s one of a kind for sure.”
Hapoel Haifa translated some of their continental success over to the domestic lead when they dropped Hapoel Galil Elyon 86-79 in the Galilee. Sharon Drucker’s team were able to pick up the road win and also received fine play by his new big man Shawn Jones who is on his third Israeli team after having played for Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon in the past. A slimmed down Jones from those days moved and grooved very nicely on the court and it was juts plain and simple great to see him back in the Holy Land.
“It always feels good to get the win and I am happy to be back here where there is some sun and it makes me happy. We locked in on defense in the second half and a player like Anthony Hickey makes my job easier. He is a good point guard and an amazing talent.”
Drucker also spoke about what Jones brings to table, “We were a winning team without him, but the things he does are different than what Devonte Upson does. We only play 4 imports in the league and I knew he would be in this game to matchup with their bigs.”
BIG congrats to Ariel Beit Halachmi for coaching his 500th game and winning it 86-81 over Bnei Herzliya thanks to his brand new point guard Manu “Emmanuel” Lecomte who is just tearing up the league and playing his position to almost absolute perfection. One has to feel good for Beit Halachmi who has been such a stalwart in the Israeli league while also leading the Under-20 Israel National Team to back to back European Championships. There are many that would like to see him as the next senior national team coach and that would be a very well deserved honor.
Beit Halachmi went back to Lecomte, “A lot of our success is because of his play as our first 5 games that we played this season we didn’t have a point guard. We are now in a better spot, but we had a very good win two weeks ago and then we lost, so we need to have a good run of wins and then we can say were are on the right track. As for being honored, I have seen a lot in my lifetime and this ceremony marking my 500th game was very emotional for me.”