Hapoel Jerusalem just came up a bit short against Hapoel Holon at home falling to the Khalif Wyatt and company 85-79. Wyatt lit up the hosts with 25 points and 7 assists while Alex Chubrovich provided the visitors a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Reds playing in black saw Amare Stoudemire drop 19 points as Lior Eliyahu picked up a double-double scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 boards.
The first quarter saw Holon run out to a 31-17 lead and all looked lost for Jerusalem, except they one upped their rivals in the second frame with a 31-14 run of their own taking a slim 3-point lead into halftime up 48-45.
However, Jerusalem couldn’t find a way to pull out the victory as poor shooting plagued the home side as Curtis Jerrells went 4/14 and 2/9 from beyond the arc while Jerome Dyson’s 1/6 from the field coupled with going 3/8 from the charity stripe did in Simone Pianigiani’s squad.
1) We saw an excellent game between two quality teams, back and forth with a ton of drama and fine play. The two will meet up again in two weeks when they tip off in the Israel State Cup semifinals and of this was just the appetizer, I can’t wait for the main course. Amazingly, this was the first win in the last nine games for Holon in Jerusalem. Can Dan Shamir’s team pull off back to back wins against the capital city side? I certainly can’t wait to see them play again, very very soon.
2) Jerusalem Head Coach Simone Pianigiani definitely wasn’t very happy with the way the referees called the game and he certainly had a legitimate gripe. He spoke about how for the game of the week the referee team should have been the league’s top zebras, and he is 110% correct. Besides that fact, the refs called a very poor game for both sides, with lots of missed calls and mistakes along the way. I hope the league and the Israel Basketball Association makes sure that we get the best referees the next time these two teams meet in just a couple of weeks.
3) Holon played like a well oiled machine. Shamir’s charges play good, solid and entertaining basketball. Between Khalif Wyatt and his 25 points, Darion Atkins, Alex Chubrovich, underrated Jordan Taylor and James Bell, Holon has a monster of a team. Add to that solid players in Shlomi Harush and Dagan Ivzuri and you’ve got a team that can run for the championship. When you throw in the Holon fans and their home arena, you certainly have a real franchise that’s ready to roll. The rest of the Israeli league should be on notice. Hapoel Holon are the real deal.
Roie Gladstone of Sport 5 reports that Sonny Weems refused to take a FIBA sanctioned drug test then failed to show up to practice. That’s not good news for Sonny, but may be good news for Maccabi as they maybe off the hook for his contract and gives the Yellow & Blue an easy way to rid themselves of one of the biggest headaches they’ve had all season long. It’s a real shame because there had been such high hopes for Maccabi this year especially with Weems in the lineup, but the wins and play that was expected of the team’s “LeBron James” was just never there. More in this story to come…
They said it:
Khalif Wyatt on Hapoel Holon’s secret to success:
“Unselfish play. Guys that don’t care if they score 30 points or 0 points. Guys that just want to win, from the top guy to the last guy.”