Hapoel Jerusalem cruised to a 88-73 win over Hapoel Gilboa Galil as James Feldeine scored 41 points in one of the season’s best performances to date. Feldeine got the game started off early with and often as the swingman scored 27 points by halftime to close out the contest early.
In addition to scoring 41 points, Feldeine finished the night with an efficiency rating of 44, while Tashawn Thomas with 13 points was the only other Jerusalem player who notched double digits on this night and added 8 rebounds in the win. Justin Tillman led Gilboa Galil with 18 points, Jamar Gulley scored 17 points and Iftach Ziv added 13 points in the loss.
James Feldeine opened the game with a pair of 3-pointers while Jamar Gulley scored 7 points early for Gilboa Galil as the score was all knotted up at 9-9 midway through the first quarter. However, a couple of dunks by Nimrod Levi and James Feldeine forced Lior Lubin to call a quick timeout to settle his troops as they cams back with a Gil Benny triple as Gilboa Galil grabbed a 18-17 lead after ten minutes.
Tashawn Thomas got hot for the Reds and helped Oded Katash’s squad take a 32-23 lead with 4:58 left in the second quarter. Justin Tillman ratcheted up his play with a thunderous dunk but Feldeine went off for four triples to bring his game total to 27 points as the Reds took a 52-35 advantage into halftime.
Feldeine raised his game total to 35 points in the third quarter as Jerusalem increased their lead to 68-47 after thirty minutes. Thomas scored a couple of layups and Feldeine kept finding nothing but net for the hosts. Netanel Artzi, Yiftah Ziv Gulley and Tillman answered for Gilboa Galil as they tried to keep the score respectable but the capital city side cruised to a 88-73 victory.
1) “Tonight it probably would have been me. Every other night he’s (Harden) definitely going to beat me,” that’s what James Feldeine answered to the question of who would win a one-on-one against James Harden. And he’s probably right. Feldeine’s efficiency was startling going 14/20 from the field which included six triples. When is the last time Harden had those types of percentages? Just last night Harden scored 39 points going 8/27 from the field versus the Phoenix Suns and a few days earlier when he notched 50 points against the San Antonio Spurs he went 11/38 which included 4/20 from beyond the arc. Now I’m not trying to compare Harden and Feldiene, the former has to play against NBA level players and defensive schemes, but what Feldeine did was absolutely fascinating with his with friend Edgar Sosa (2 pts in 17 min) on the opposite side of the court, “Today was a special night for me playing versus my best friend getting hot so fast. It wasn’t my first time but it’s been a while since we were playing in Italy. I know his game and he knows mine. I want him to do well except against us. He’s a great player.” Braimoh however, had the final word here, “It was definitely a special night and it’s his night. It was a very special performance and I’m happy he had one.”
2) What did his coach and teammates think of the masterful performance, one that is very rare in any European league? “That’s what he does and that why we got him here,” said Su Braimoh. “He went off at a time that we needed a spark and he carried us today.” Tashawn Thomas who was the only other Jerusalem player in double figures also was amazed as what his sidekick did on the court, “It was great to see him get that under his belt. I don’t think I’ve seen that overseas yet.” Finally, Coach Oded Katash kept his cards close to his chest and while we all know how much he loves watching Feldeine shoot he also wants to keep his star level headed, “There were some incredible minutes and he’s a scorer. I don’t remember how many I scored in a half but this was a terrific performance. We have seen a number of players who have scored so many points in the Euroleague.”
3) With 6:21 left in the third quarter and with the score 63-39, Katash took Feldeine out and it seemed his night with 35 points at the time was over. A huge lead, no need to risk his best player when J’Covan Brown and Bar Timor were not playing and with an important Champions League game slated for Tuesday night. He did his job and that was that. He did re-enetr the contest a bit later although for all intents and purposes he did what he had needed to do. From the fans standpoint and even us journalists, we all wanted to see him keep playing and continue adding to his total. However, Katash wasn’t interested in risking his star and frankly said, “He was tired and we want to win games and not break records.” Did Thomas think Feldeine could have scored more? “I think if he would have played more he would have got a lot more but I think he was shooting for 40.” Was this the highest point performance that Braimoh had been a part of? “I’d have to dig deep into my memory bank as I’ve been playing for ten years.”
When you see Feldeine play you think that shooting the basketball is as easy as pie. His release is so effortless, he glides to the basket with such etiquette and his play is just spectacular. Haven’t we spoken about James Feldeine game in and game out? The question always posed to the swingman is why is he here in Jerusalem and not in the Euroleague? Sure, Feldeine has played in the Euroleague before but he has expressed time and time again how happy he is to be in the Holy City, “I’m here for the next year and a half and I’m not worried about that. I watch them on tv and I’m worried about Jerusalem basketball. I’m trying to do big things for this organization.” Case closed.
What was it like being on the other side of the court and trying to stop or even slow down Feldeine? “We tried to stop him but he just kept hitting his shots. It was impossible to stop him today,” said Yiftach Ziv the Gilboa Galil guard. Was Coach Lior Lubin impressed? “We came in with a game plan but this is what great players do.”
Did Feldeine do anything special before the game? “I did a normal routine, getting some shots up and getting a rhythm. It’s home court and I kind of like it here, and I kind of like the rims and the rims like me. You know me, if I get hot, I just start jacking them up and they go in or miss my team tells me to be aggressive even if I’m missing.”
Hapoel Jerusalem plays Bandirma from Turkey in Champions League action on Tuesday night and Braimoh knows that the team still has plenty of work to do, “A win is a win and I’m always happy when we get it but we got some things to tighten up always on defense and clean up some thing on offense. We’ll get back to work and get ready for Bandirma.” Coach Katash understands that the group is extremely tight in continental play, “Our group is very close and the teams have similar records. Hopefully we will have both J’Covan Brown and Bar Timor back as soon as possible. We will have to see how J’Covan feels on Sunday and although Bar could have played I didn’t want to risk him.”
The Last Word
James Feldeine: “We won and that’s all that matters. I just want to win whether I score two points or 40 I just want to win.”