Why would this season be any different than the last two for Maccabi?

Hapoel Jerusalem 65-57 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Hapoel Jerusalem outplayed Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli Classico picking up the 8-point victory. Lior Eliyahu led the way for Hapoel with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Jerome Dyson had 12 points of his own. Gal Mekel had a big game with 22 points, while Victor Rudd scored 11 points for a slumping Maccabi Tel Aviv side.

1) It was “Survival of the Fittest” between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Both teams had disastrous shooting percentages with the hosts going 38.7% to the Yellow & Blue’s 37.3% with 3-point shooting a combined 10/47. YIKES! The so called Israeli Classico was far from it as the two struggling franchises showed exactly why they have been playing sub par ball. Thankfully for Jerusalem Lior Eliyahu, yes, the Lior Eliyahu came back with a vengeance and showed that he still has some very good basketball in him as the embattled veteran recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists in 34 minutes of action.

Dov Halickman Photography

With Number 8 being thrown out/leaving/not wanting to practice or whatever happened this week, the former Maccabi man showed that he can still bring it and of Jerusalem wants to do anything going forward in the Israeli league, Simone Pianigiani will need him in board.

2) With the addition of Richard Howell and Alessandro Gentile, Hapoel Jerusalem will need to make some sort of roster moves as Isaac Rosefelt and Shawn Jones have not seen the hardwood in quite some time. Jerome Dyson another player who may have been on the chopping block and who had been struggling mightily of late took full advantage of a fantastic second half scoring all of his 10 points in almost 12 minutes of play to help the hosts to the win. Even though Dyson went 3/12 from the field he scored his points when his team needed it most. On the other hand, Tarence Kinsey has another disappointing game scoring only 1 point while going 0/6, however he did pull down 7 rebounds. I’m still not sure what Hapoel will do, but with Hapoel Tel Aviv releasing Darrell Williams one would have to think that either Jones or Rosefelt will be heading to the Tel Aviv Reds. Tremendous credit must go to Hapoel management for making these bold personnel moves over the past week as Ori Allon’s side isn’t sitting still with the regular season nearing its end and a title run in the offing. The next couple of days will certainly be interesting.

3) On the flip side, Maccabi may have been happy with their defensive performance last night against Hapoel but their offensive display of 57 points was close to pathetic and Head Coach Ainars Bagatskis knows it. Add to that 7 straight losses and you have one beat up team who have done nothing on the personnel side other than getting back Quincy Miller and hoping that Andrew Goudelock and Yogev Ohayon will return to help save the season.

Dov Halickman Photography

With only one point guard in Gal Mekel who had a marvelous game scoring 22 points grabbing 5 boards and dishing out 4 assists while also drawing 7 fouls, Maccabi has given him absolutely no help and haven’t even lifted a finger to add a player for one of the most important positions on the floor. I’m not quite sure what management is thinking but I do know this, if the Yellow & Blue do nothing of interest over the next few days they will be irrelevant on Thursday when they face Haifa while Jerusalem visits first place Hapoel Holon with Gentile and Howell primed to make their debuts.

Sylven Landesberg has been a disaster of late and with yet another game where the Israeli scored 0 points, added 0 assists and pulled down one rebound in 17+ minutes of play one has to wonder what has been going on with number 15. Shooting 4/35 over the last 5 games (thanks to Dubi Yakubovitz for that stat) isn’t going to cut it while 2 points from Guy Pnini in 30 minutes and 5 points in 26 minutes from Devin Smith certainly won’t win anyone any titles this season. Coach Bagatskis is optimistic however that his team will be able to pull it together and win the championship. With only one league title in the past 4 seasons, why would anyone think that this season will be any different than the last two.

Bnei Herzliya 75-60 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Bnei Herzliya comfortably beat a struggling Hapoel Tel Aviv by 15 points. Taurean Green finished with 16 points, while Karam Mashour had 15 of his own for Bnei Herzliya, whom hit nine three pointers. Raviv Limonad scored 16 points, while Mark Lyons had a quiet game with 10 points for Hapoel Tel Aviv. The contest also was also Richard Howell’s last as he was transferred to Hapoel Jerusalem.

Hapoel Eilat 84-81 Hapoel Holon
Eilat just found a way to beat Holon in overtime thanks to strong play from veteran guard Afik Nissim who scored 16 points from the bench, while Landon Milbourne dropped 12 for the victorious hosts. Tu Holloway scored a huge 26 points, while James Bell scored 18 points for a disappointing outcome.

Maccabi Haifa 77-82 Maccabi Ashdod
Maccabi Ashdod shocked Maccabi Haifa at the Romema Arena in Haifa by the small margin of five points. Jackie Carmichael scored 10 points with 13 rebounds, while Mario Little scored 16 points for Maccabi Ashdod. Gregory Vargas scored 17 points, while William Graves finished with 15 points for Maccabi Haifa.

Ironi Nahariya 70-71 Rishon Le’Zion
Rishon Le’Zion just beat Ironi Nahariya in what was an amazing back and forth matchup. Stu Douglass had a chance to tie up the game with 3 free throws but only hot 2\3 as the hosts fell to the defending champions. Charles Thomas scored 21 points, while Shawn Dawson scored 11 points for Rishon. Jonathan Skoldebrand scored 18 points, while Nick Faust had 15 points.

Maccabi Kiryat Gat 79-82 Hapoel Gilboa/Galil
Kiryat Gat was officially relegated after falling to Gilboa/Galil on Friday afternoon. The hosts played tough to stave off elimination and received a fine showing from Justin Carter with 21 points. However, it would not be enough as Murphy Holloway’s double-double, 13 points & 16 rebounds coupled with 19 points from Mike Qualls gave the visitors the narrow win.

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