Hapoel Jerusalem recovered from a poor first quarter to take a 94-86 win over Hapoel Beer Sheva at the southern capital. Oded Katash’s squad committed 11 turnovers during the first ten minutes but solid play by Bar Timor, James Feldeine, Tashawn Thomas, Nimrod Levi and J’Covan Brown over the final three frames helped the Reds to the victory.
James Feldeine & Tashawn Thomas each dropped 18 points, Bar Timor added 17 points, Nimrod Levi scored 14 points and 9 rebounds while J’Covan Brown scored 11 points, dished out 16 assists, grabbed 7 rebounds and picked it 2 steals in the win. Amit Simhon led Beer Sheva with 21 points, John Petrucelli added 19 points and Steve Zack chipped in with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Hapoel Beer Sheva jumped all over Jerusalem early and took a 22-12 after ten minutes of action as Steve Zack scored 8 points while Oded Katash’s squad couldn’t deal with the hosts pressure and coughed up the ball 11 times during the first quarter.
Jerusalem inched back into the game and took the lead 45-42 after twenty minutes as J’Covan Brown, James Feldeine, Suleiman Braimoh and Bar Timor were all instrumental in helping the Reds outscored the hosts 33-20 and also not commit one turnover in the second quarter.
Amit Simhon featured for Beer Sheva but Timor continued his scoring prowess while Brown kept dishing out assists bringing his game total to 14 by the end of the third quarter as Jerusalem led 71-63 following thirty minutes of action.
Nimrod Levi was the Reds main man in the fourth quarter while Simhon and John Petrucelli kept Rami Hadar’s squad in the game but a Feldeine triple with 22 seconds left in the game iced the contest for Jerusalem as they notched a 94-86 victory.
1) That was a weird game which began with a very weird first quarter for Hapoel Jerusalem. Beer Sheva pressed the Reds from the get go and caused Oded Katash’s players to falter out of gate committing 11(!) turnovers over the course of the first ten minutes. Amazingly though Beer Sheva was only up by ten points which could have easily been twenty points and they paid the price in the second quarter as Jerusalem blitzed the hosts for 33 points and the lead by halftime. “We had to settle down and play together as a team which we ended in doing,” explained J’Covan Brown who dished out 16 assists. Bar Timor who had an excellent game also spoke about the start of the contest, “We were able to play better defense which led us to being able to score some easy baskets but we still aren’t defending the way we should and we have to work on that.” Katash spoke about the trouble Beer Sheva gave his team as well, “We were missing Tamir (Blatt) and Beer Sheva presser the ball in the first quarter and we gave up 11 turnovers. After that we played well and we recorded a good win.”
2) “We made some changes after the first quarter as Beer Sheva forced us to do so,” stated Katash following the game. Credit to Jerusalem for making the changes they had to do to get back into the game after the disastrous first frame as J’Covan Brown played facilitator to help the Reds turn around their game. “I didn’t have a rhythm shooting the ball and I tried to make the game easy by sharing two ball. We have great guys that can score the ball and I’m happy to share the court with these guys everyday. It wasn’t a cute win but we got the job done.” It certainly wants “cute” but as Brown said, they got the win and that was the most important thing. “We were a bit short and it wasn’t an easy game,” said Timor. “We didn’t defend well but we ended up ramping up our play with some big baskets and I’m happy we ended up getting the win.”
3) Brown had a fabulous game for Jerusalem although his shooting was off going 2/8 from the field. But they didn’t need his points, they needed his assists and distribution to make up for the loss of Blatt and he did just that while capturing the MVP award for the win. However, Brown wasn’t 100% as it was clear he was hobbling, but as always he lays it all on the line for his team, “My knee is banged up but when I step on the court with my teammates I’ll find a way to help us win the game.” That’s J’Covan, the guy you always what to go to war with.
Amit Simhon was just released by Hapoel Holon signed with Beer Sheva and his addition paid off dividends almost immediately as he led the southern squad with 21 points going 5/9 from beyond the arc. The small forward looks to be a natural fit for Rami Hadar’s team and should thrive down south. After returning form an injury, Simhon never really looked right at Holon and didn’t contribute the way that both he would have wanted as well as the club. But that’s behind him now as he has an opportunity to turn the page and make and difference for his new team.