Will Herzliya loss prove costly for Goodes and Holon as knockout games in BCL & State Cup loom?

Jan 9, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Holon has a busy week no doubt with a Basketball Champions League Round of 16 Play In game 2 at Igokea as Guy Goodes’s squad will look to punch their ticket to the Round of 16 group stage where they would join Hapoel Jerusalem Strasbourg and the winner of the Dijon and Peristeri series. After a 103-79 win over the Bosnians at the Holon Arena, Goodes and his crew will look to complete the sweep on Tuesday and punch their ticket without having to worry about playing a decisive game three back at home.

After game two, Holon will ready for a State Cup knockout game against Hapoel Haifa on Saturday night as they look to advance to the final four of the competition as well.

Guy Goodes – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

With that all in mind it was no surprise that Goodes and Holon came into their Israeli league game a bit lackluster which resulted in a 77-64 loss at Herzliya in a contest that saw a first half that was all going the hosts way. The bench boss even said after his club’s game one win over Igokea that he would be looking to split minutes so it came as no shock that Chris Johnson was not dressed for the clash while it looked like Holon was just not into the game from the tipoff.

Holon did come out well to begin the second half, and tied the score up at 54-54 and also came to within a pair of points 66-64 with 4:25 left but Herzliya never lost the lead and went on a 11-0 run to polish off the game. It also didn’t help that Joe Ragland was sent to the showers with under 3 minutes left in the game when he was handed his second unsportsmanlike foul which signified the final nail in the coffin.

“We have a very critical week of games with a chance to go to the Top 16 group stage,” Goodes said following the game. “We then have a State Cup quarterfinal so it’s like three knockout games in arrow if you add in last week’s game one. It was important for me to split up the minutes in this game and for Chris to rest as we have a very busy and important week.”

While Goodes wanted to split the minutes up he was unable to do so in the center position as Marvin Jones played 35+ minutes as Javin DeLaurier woke up feeling ill. That obviously wasn’t part of the game plan but nonetheless, Goodes had to make the best of the situation.

Marvin Jones – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

“Javin wasn’t feeling well and that hurt us in the rotation. Herzliya were fresh and they deserved the win. We have a lot on our heads and as they say you have to give some to get some. I’m happy that this game hurts the players as they are upset. That’s good because it shows that the team is healthy.”

The issue with this game was that Holon was neither here nor there and did not have a direct mandate to go out and play their hardest to win, or just play and try to keep the game close enough to have a chance to win. Goodes needed to make a decision before the game as to where he really wanted to see this game head and because of that indecision the contest began as it did; with Holon not really being in the game from the get go. Sure Holon came back in the second half but they were never able to take the lead when they drew even at 54-54 and the damage had already been done.

The NY Giants who had punched their ticket to the postseason last week, had nothing to play for when they faced the Philadelphia Eagles in the last game of the season and therefore made the correct decision ahead of time to rest his starters and not risk injury. Tons of younger players and guys who barely got playing time filled the field and while they played valiantly, came up short 22-16. Their head coach Brian Daboll made the right call and will have his players raring to go in a knockout playoff game.

Javin DeLaurier – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Goodes could have done the same especially when his backup center DeLaurier was ill and could have just played some of the younger guys including a reliable Shachar Amir while making sure Jones didn’t have to play close to the entire game.

A risk was taken by Goodes and the payoff did not occur as they fell by 13-points at the end of the day but he also used some of his starters much more than he had originally wanted to.

For the players sake as well, a clear and concise decision needed to be made before tip-off instead of one that was half baked which not only could put the balance of their week at risk but also messes around with the fragile mental state of the team which was on display when Joe Ragland got tossed.

Holon is a much better team than Igokea and ultimately the decisions made by Goodes will probably not impact the final result in game two, but sports are played on the court and not in the papers or the web.

Sharon Drucker and Will Rayman – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

However, Goodes’s bigger concern will be Saturday night’s State Cup game against Hapoel Haifa after a lengthy trip to Bosnia. The Carmel Reds gave Maccabi Tel Aviv all that they could handle in a league match on Sunday night in a game that went to double overtime and which was played without an injured Amit Simhon. Sharon Drucker’s team will be ready to go against one of the coach’s former clubs where his time behind the bench did not end the way he would have liked. There is no question that Drucker will be gunning for the win and Goodes will need to be prepared for that.

While Goodes came in the front door to take over Holon from Maurizio Buscaglia (who is taking over Hapoel Eilat) roughly a year ago and had to maneuver through a number of knockout games, one year later he is tasked to do the same thing once again.

Can he do it? That is the beauty of sports, we will see what will be on the court this coming week.

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