Yonatan Alon’s debut on the Hapoel Jerusalem sidelines didn’t exactly go the way he would have liked it to have gone as Maccabi scored early and often to take the 100-76 win. Although the Reds looked better from the sense of playing the type of basketball they had under Oded Katash, they were still eons behind the Yellow & Blue. That’s not to say Dainius Adomaitis’s style can’t be undone, but rather Jerusalem was a flawed team under Katash that the Lithuanian inherited.
If Alon would have taken over the team back in January the result against Maccabi could have been identical. Jerusalem’s outside shooting still needs help after going 48% from 2 and 32% from 3 and their defensive abilities weren’t able to halt or even slowdown the Yellow & Blue attack as they shot 58% and 48% (!) respectively.
The first time head coach also wasn’t finding any favor from the referees whom he wouldn’t comment about after the game but had plenty to say to them over they course of the 40 minutes perhaps leaving an unfavorable impression on the zebras.
Jerusalem just isn’t the same team as they were last year before the coronavirus killed their Champions League campaign as well as their league title hopes after they had already captured the Israel State Cup.
Tashawn Thomas doesn’t look like the same player and even began the game on the bench, J’Covan Brown is inured and is now back in the United States, John Holland is readying for a EuroCup decisive semifinal clash with Kazan, Emannuel Terry was back in the G-League and Shelvin Mack is with Katash at Panathinaikos.
That’s a lot of changes for a team to overcome and to even compare between the two seasons.
Jerusalem’s offense looked a but more fluid and not as static that it had become over the past few months so that’s a small positive to take away as they now have to ready for a schedule that sees them visit Holon and host Gilboa Galil to finish off the second round of games as they will then play with the top 6 teams in the 3rd round barring a mega disaster ahead of the playoffs.
After somewhat hanging out former coach Adomatis to dry at the post game press conference last week at Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion, Idan Zalmanson spoke about how it’s going to take some time to get back into the swing of things, “It won’t take a day to get things together. We have a great desire but it’s going to take time and we have to build things back up. I believe that we will get there as there’s a good atmosphere within the team.”
Jerusalem lost their last two games by a total of 55 points while giving up an average of 99 points in those contests. However, Zalmanson doesn’t feel that the team has any major issues, “There’s no big problems, it’s each game by itself and we will work on it. It’s a process and we hope that things will get better.”
“We can be better,” Alon said. “It’s not just one player, we can get better. That is our goal right now. The team is much better than what we have seen.”
For Alon’s sake he needs to make sure that his team is much better than what has been gracing the floors around the country as Zalmanson indicated, “We have had good practices and you can see that on the floor. You’ll see a better Jerusalem and we are getting ready for the third round of games in get upper half of the standings.”
“We will be in the championship playoffs,” Alon stated. “We will work on improving to do as well as we can. We will get there. The car is in the shop and can’t go anywhere without gasoline with the fans being the gasoline.”
There’s time for Jerusalem to improve but the real question is, can they get that car out of the garage?