Hapoel Tel Aviv blew out Nes Ziona 105-75 at Lev HaMoshava as Jordan Davis starred with 22 points and 8 rebounds. 2020 NBA Draft Prospect Yam Madar scored an impressive 14 points and 5 assists, Daniel Koperberg added 13 points and 7 rebounds while captain Tomer Ginat chipped in with 12 points and 7 boards. Cameron Oliver led Nes Ziona with 19 points and Tal Dunne scored 12 points in the defeat.
1) The Reds were impressive. Very impressive in absolutely manhandling Nes Ziona and picking up what looked like a very, very easy win. The victory was also accomplished without Jordan Hamilton who earlier in the day came to an agreement with the club to return to the United States. It seemed that everyone chipped in accords the board and that is something that we have been able to seen now in they past few games where 10-11 players scored at least a point. That perhaps has been the secret to Coach Ioannis Kastritis’s success; having a real team, that plays like a team from player #1 to the last guy on the bench. “We like Jordan (Hamilton) a lot and it’s unfortunate that he is no longer with us,” said Tomer Ginat. “But I believe that this will give a chance to other players to step up. There is no vacuum in basketball and everyone that was on the court really contributed in his place. We have to be a team and at Hapoel Tel Aviv it’s not one player or another. If we do that we will be where we want to be.”
2) Coach Kastritis has definitely made this mark and reflected on the words of his captain in being a team when I asked about big man Daniel Koperberg who was offloaded by Maccabi Haifa earlier in the season. “Everybody had a great night and I don’t like to talk personally about one player or another, but Danny has worked a lot and hard and has great motivation. But we need to remain humble and continue to work harder.” Ginat also talked about Koperberg’s contribution which was his career high but also went back to the theme of being a team, “He was exceptional and did a great job. We had some foul trouble with our bigs from the get go and Daniel was terrific whether it was defensively and rebounding in critical moments and made some big baskets at critical moments of the game. But again I just want to look at the team as a whole.”
3) Nadav Zilberstein looks like he has lost total control of the team that had such high expectations as the season was about to resume. Nes Ziona brought in some terrific players such as Cameron Oliver who as one of the club’s personnel told me that he is a foreigner who comes along only every few years. Unfortunately things are going south fast for the team that also added a great prospect in Lindell Wigginton and Rayvonte Rice to go along with holdover JP Tokoto plus Israelis Golan Gutt, Raviv Limonad and Tal Dunne. In fact, Limonad who was playing against his former team was ejected early on in the first quarter leaving Zilberstein without yet another player as Gutt was out with an injury as well. Do they still have a chance? “I think we can get back to playing well. We played well for 25 minutes in Haifa and of course when you lose some games you also lose confidence. But there are still plenty of games and there can be momentum swing. We will have to put things aside and come and win as the standings are very tight.” But it’s not just what is going on on the court, it’s what’s going on off of it as well. Captain Tal Dunne doesn’t want to continue in the role and there is talk that the coach will be replaced. Add to that there are reports saying that there is disharmony amongst some of the players, well then you have the perfect storm.