Hap TA levels series with dramatic win over Jerusalem

Tel Aviv dropped to a heartbreaking overtime defeat in Game 1 in Jerusalem last week despite a stunning 46-point performance by Nate Robinson.

May 23, 2016 01:05
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv guard Nate Robinson

Hapoel Tel Aviv guard Nate Robinson. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

Hapoel Tel Aviv tied its BSL best-of-five quarterfinal series against Hapoel Jerusalem at 1-1 on Sunday, claiming a nerve-wracking 87-85 win at the Drive-In Arena to snap the defending champion’s 13-game winning streak.

Raviv Limonad scored the winning basket for Tel Aviv with 2.1 seconds to play after Jerusalem had erased an 18-point gap in the final six minutes to tie the score.

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Tel Aviv dropped to a heartbreaking overtime defeat in Game 1 in Jerusalem last week despite a stunning 46-point performance by Nate Robinson.

It only got nine points from the three-time NBA dunk champion on Sunday, but still won the game thanks to a balanced offensive display and a much-improved showing on the defensive end.

Game 3 will be held at the Jerusalem Arena on Thursday, with Game 4 to be played in Tel Aviv next Sunday. If necessary, Game 5 will take place in Jerusalem next Wednesday.

Limonad led Hapoel with 27 points, while Tre Simmons added 16 points.

Donta Smith had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Jerusalem.

After a tight first period, Tel Aviv pulled ahead in the second quarter and led by as many as 19 points at one stage (48-29). It allowed Jerusalem back within 13 points (56-43) by the break and was still ahead by 12 points (70-58) entering the final 10 minutes.

The hosts seemed to be cruising with an 18-point gap (83-65) with less than six minutes to play, but a 14-0 Jerusalem run, capped by Lior Eliyahu’s basket, forced a nervy final two minutes. Bar Timor’s lay-up with 18.7 seconds to play brought the visitors within just two points (85-83) and Tel Aviv turned the ball over from the inbound pass in the next possession. Smith tied the game from the line with two free throws with eight seconds remaining, but Limonad scored at the other end to clinch the win to the delight of the local support.

Game 2 in the other quarterfinals will be held on Monday.

No. 2 Maccabi Tel Aviv will have to manage without Richard Hendrix and Brian Randle, as well as long-term absentee Devin Smith when it visits No.

7 Bnei Herzliya. Maccabi eked out a 76-75 win at home in far from convincing fashion in Game 1 and will require an improved performance in order to have the opportunity to already wrap-up the series on Thursday.

No. 3 Maccabi Haifa and No. 4 Ironi Nahariya will both be aiming to bounce back from home defeats in Game 1.

Haifa suffered a 71-69 loss to No. 6 Maccabi Rishon Lezion at Romema Arena, while No. 5 Hapoel Eilat beat Nahariya 82-75 at Ein Sara.

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