Maccabi Tel Aviv overcame a weary first half to beat BC Habika’a 99-76 at Nokia
Arena on Wednesday night and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five BSL
Despite playing without its injured star Paul
Delaney, Habika’a trailed Maccabi by just five points at halftime (47-42), only
to be outscored 32-15 in the third quarter and lose any hope of recording the
biggest surprise of the BSL season so far.
“We have a lot of experience
playing games every other day and that served us well tonight,” said Maccabi
coach David Blatt, who guided his team to the Adriatic League title on
“We didn’t find it easy in the first half and it took us time to
find our rhythm.”
Keith Langford and Yogev Ohayon led six Maccabi players
in double figures with 16 points each, while Troy Gillenwater scored 22 for
Habika’a, which hosts Game 2 on Monday night.
A 7-0 Habika’a run gave the
visitors their first lead of the night (9-8), and despite moving back in front
immediately, Maccabi only had a two-point edge (22-20) after 10
A 10-1 surge, capped by a Nir Cohen three-pointer, opened a
surprise five-point cushion (30-25) for Habika’a, but Tel Aviv was still in the
driving seat at the break, with Langford’s three giving the yellow-and-blue a
47-42 advantage at halftime.
Dion Dowell’s triple kept Habika’a within
striking distance of Maccabi (54-49) early in the second half, but a 12-0 Tel
Aviv run would follow, with Devin Smith’s basket from beyond the arc making it
66-49 midway through the third period.
Habika’a was never going to climb
out of such a hole and the final 10 minutes were pure garbage time after David
Blu made it a 22-point game (79-57) with the final basket of the third
On Thursday, Maccabi Ashdod hosts Elitzur Ramle in the fifth and
decisive game of the women’s playoff finals.
Ramle failed to close out
the series at home in Game 4, losing 67-57 to Ashdod, which is looking to
complete an historic league and cup double.
Despite its defeat on Monday,
Ramle will be confident of defending its league title after beating Ashdod on
the road just last week, surprising Edni Dagan’s team 60-58 in Game 3.