The battle for BSL playoff seeding enters the final stretch on Sunday night as teams tussle for home-court
advantage in the best-of-five quarterfinals and look to avoid meeting Maccabi
Tel Aviv until the Final Four title game.
Maccabi clinched first place in
the standings and the No. 1 seed long ago, but it will still have a
crucial role to play in the battle between Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon for
a top-four finish.
Jerusalem beat Holon 80-70 on Wednesday to move ahead
of its opponent on a tiebreaker, with both teams owning a 13-10 record and
Jerusalem winning two of the three meetings between the sides this
Jerusalem doesn’t visit Ashkelon until Monday, but ironically it
will be crossing its fingers for arch-rival Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday as the
yellow- and-blue host Holon at Nokia Arena.
A Maccabi (20-2) win combined
with a Jerusalem victory 24 hours later will see the Reds secure a top-four
finish and home-court advantage.
Despite a terribly erratic season,
Jerusalem could even enter the playoffs from third position – meaning it won’t
need to face Maccabi until the BSL final – should it win its last two games and
Maccabi Rishon Lezion drop its last two.
Rishon (14-9) visits Hapoel
Gilboa/Galil (15-8) on Sunday, with the northerners needing a win to clinch
However, even should it fall, Rishon will be a firm
favorite to claim the victory it requires when it hosts Ashkelon in its final
regular season game next Sunday, while Jerusalem will be a clear underdog when
it welcomes Maccabi in its finale.
The eighth and final playoff berth is
also yet to be decided, with Barak Netanya, BC Habika’a and Bnei Hasharon
fighting for the questionable honor of facing Maccabi in the
After snapping a four-game losing streak, Habika’a (8-14) can
make it a two-horse race when it hosts Maccabi Ashdod on Sunday.
Hasharon (7-15) will need to defeat Maccabi Haifa on Monday and for Habika’a to
lose to remain in the hunt.
However, regardless of Sunday’s result, the
identity of the eighth seed seems destined to come down to the showdown between
Habika’a and Barak Netanya (9-14) on Thursday.