Hapoel Tel Aviv fell to Bakken Bears 91-71 and were eliminated from Champions League group stage qualification in Nicosia. After a close first quarter that saw the Reds down by just 1-point, 22-21, DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored 14 points leading the Bears on a 12-0 run to end the half and go up 45-36 after twenty minutes. Yam Madar tried to keep Ioannis Kastritis’s squad in the game but the 1-2 punch of Darko Jukic and Michel Diouf dominated both sides of the floor to give the Denmark based team the victory.
Yam Madar led Hapoel with 19 points and 8 assists, Reggie Upshaw added 11 points and 7 rebounds and Bar Timor checked in with 10 points in the loss. Akoon-Purcell dropped 19 points, Darko Jukic added 17 points, Michel Diouf scored 14 points and pulled down 17 rebounds while veteran guard Justin Dentmon chipped in with 14 point in the win.
1) Hapoel Tel Aviv were the underdogs going into the game, no doubt about it and they held up well for the first 15 minutes or so, but the 12-0 run just killed them to close out the end of the second quarter. It was too big a hole for the Reds to climb out of and that was that against a quality team who have played together and in Europe for some years. Add to that DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell who was an absolute monster for the Bears in that second quarter and it was game, set and match.
2) One of Tel Aviv’s new players Jon Diebler hit a couple of triples early on and brought with veteran European experience but it wasn’t enough on this day to will Ioannis Kastritis’s squad to the win, “It was a tough game for us. We felt good going into the game but came up short. We must continue to work and improve and get ready for the Winner League.”
3) A question that The Sports Rabbi has now is what will Yam Madar do now. Will the newly minted captain stay at Hapoel Tel Aviv and prepare for the upcoming season which will begin in roughly a month or will he look to move to a club in Europe in order to play twice a week which may be crucial for his NBA future. After changing agencies to CAA, it’s clear that Madar is looking more and more and more seriously at the NBA and has even been mentioned as potentially being selected in the first round. The other school of thought is that he may want to go back to the United States in order to continue his training and preparations there before the draft. Of course, he may just stay where he is and that may not be a bad thing at all considering how the coronavirus is ravaging the country. As they say, time will tell but I have a feeling that the next couple of weeks will be very interesting for the Madar camp.