Hapoel Jerusalem dropped Hapoel Holon 82-73 to win their third league game in seven days despite playing with a short roster. Oded Katash’s squad received tremendous play from the seven players who stepped on the court as Tashawn Thomas with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists led the Reds to the hard earned victory. Suleiman Braimoh added 16 points, Chris Kramer chipped in with 14 points while Tamir Blatt checked in with 12 points and 8 assists. Chris Johnson was Holon’s high scorer with 29 points and Frederic Bourdillon added 13 points in the loss.
Tamir Blatt with a pair of triples and Suleiman Briamoh with 5 points got Hapoel Jerusalem off and running to a 13-7 lead midway through the first quarter. Chris Kramer added a 3-pointer for the Reds while Blatt chipped in for another one from deep but CJ Harris drained back-to-back 3-pointers, Chris Johnson nailed one from the corner as did Yogev Ohayon, however, the Reds stayed in front 26-21 after ten minutes.
Willy Workman put in a nice dunk to get the second quarter underway and Johnson continued to have the hot hand for Stefanos Dedas’s club but Idan Zalmanson and Tashawn Thomas found points at the other end as they continued to lead 32-30 with 4:56 remaining in the first half. Johnson kept scoring every which way including a dunk off the baseline for Holon but Adam Ariel hit a dead center triple and Thomas kept pouring in points to give Oded Katash’s crew a slim 41-38 advantage at halftime.
Holon’s Frederic Bourdillon hit a pair from long distance and Tyrus McGee put in a layup as the game moved into the third quarter but Thomas scored two inside as Jerusalem stayed in the lead 48-46 midway through the frame. Isaiah Miles drilled home a triple with hands in his face, Bourdillon hit an off balance jumper while Harris did the same to give Dedas’s team the lead but 3-pointers by Blatt and Kramer knotted the contest up at 59-59 after thirty minutes of action.
Braimoh drove in for a layup to begin the fourth quarter while Thomas scored as well but baskets by Bourdillon kept Holon close but Jerusalem regained the lead 66-63 with 6:46 left in regulation time. Bourdillon kept finding the bucket with a put back but Ad Cohen Saban and Ariel drained corner triples to go up 72-66 with 3:49 to go. Johnson didn’t give with a 3-pointer of his own, but Braimoh scored points, Kramer drilled a dagger three and Thomas punctuated the victory with a monster dunk to take the 82-73 win.
1) Huge, Massive, Immense, Incredible, Terrific job by Hapoel Jerusalem. But above all, Character. It was all character that took Jerusalem through this stretch. A gutsy performance and a gutsy win after a week of three games, three wins in just seven days.Kudos has tp go out tp the players and staff for being able to pull off such impressive performances. No one in their right and would have criticized them had they lost against Hapoel Holon. Not a person. They downed Hapoel Tel Aviv at the Drive In last Monday night, took apart Maccabi Haifa on Thursday night and mounted a comeback after going down versus Holon on Sunday night. An impressive week to ay the least. Chris Kramer who extended his contract until the end of the 2020/21 season spoke about how the team made it through, “Huge effort with a short rotations with the odds kind of stacked against us but we showed character this week. They made a run and we stayed together, made the plays and responded. Now we have to rest up.” The star of the show Tashawn Thomas talked about putting everything aside and just playing the games, “One thing I knew when we saw the roster get shorter was to stop making excuses and just be ready to play at all times and that’s what we did this whole week.” Finally, Coach Oded Katash expressed his feelings about his team, “We played with a short roster again. We ended up winning due to our defense. I told them how proud I was as this was a challenging stretch. This win really shows the character of our team.”
2) Everyone around Hapoel Jerusalem was thrilled to have closed the deal that will allow Chris Kramer remain in Red for the balance of the season. It’s clear that Kramer brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and savvy to the capital and it’s also clear that he leaves it all on the court every time he’s out there. In four games so far this season Kramer has chalked up 15 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 30.5 minutes per contest. Add to the fact that he’s shooting 42.3% from 3 and 61.5% from 2 and you’ve got the total package. The 32 year old is one of Europe’s top sharpshooters but he’s also a true leader on the court for Katash the coach explained, “We’re very happy that Chris will be with us and we fell in love with him from the first minute he was here.” Tamir Blatt who signed with Alba Berlin in the offseason and was loaned to Jerusalem also remarked how he has been able to consult with Kramer, “First off he’s a great guy, a leader who has played at the highest of levels including the Euroleague. I have been getting advice from him since he’s arrived.” As for Kramer, he spoke about his role going forward, “My role on any team that I have been on is to do whatever I can to help the team win. This team I have to score a bit more than in the past but it is fun. I put in a lot of work this summer and that’s where the confidence in shooting the basketball comes from. We’re happy to be here with Hapoel right now and we will try to win as many games as we can and see what happens we have a lot of games left.”
3) Hapoel Holon is having a rough go that’s for sure. With an 0-3 record thus far in league play having fallen to Rishon Le’Zion, Gilboa Galil and now Jerusalem, plus two defeats in Champions League play, it’s a start that Stefanos Dedas can’t be thrilled with. The main criticism has been the fact that the team decided to play with five out and no real big man and that philosophy hasn’t worked yet for Holon. However, immediately after the game they signed a center to a short term deal in Belgium international Maxime De Zeeuw who will definitely help out the team’s situation in get paint as well as the rotation of players especially with three more European clashes ahead. “He’s a very intelligent player,” said Dedas. “He knows how to play in the paint and will add a parameter that we haven’t had due to Rich Howell’s absence. Maxime has spent a lot of time with each club he has been and that shows what type of characteristics he brings as a person and a player.” As for the game itself Dedas felt his team could have done more, “The players could have given more and we also had games and injuries but we had more solutions than them.”
Adi Cohen Saban put in some good minutes for Katash’s crew with 14 while scoring 7 points including a very important triple as well. Thomas spoke about what Cohen-Saban brings to the table and how the team has been encouraging him to shoot, “The team tells Adi to shoot all the time and if he has the wide open shots but it’s the confidence that is key during this time.” Blatt also feels that the guard is crucial for the team on the defensive end of the court, “He’s very, very important for us especially on the defensive end.” Katash ultimately knows that Cohen-Saban brings the motivation of the energizer bunny, “Adi is great for us and when we have ups and downs with our energy he always brings it no matter what the situation is which is fantastic for us.”