With four straight wins to its name, Maccabi Haifa will be looking to make a
real statement when it visits Hapoel Jerusalem at Malha Arena in BSL action on
After two torrid seasons, Haifa looks to be one of the
league’s best teams once more, winning six of its first eight games.
American coach Brad Greenberg has built a cohesive unit in rapid time, with
Donta Smith (15.9 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, 5.1 rebounds per game),
Paul Stoll (15.5 PPG, 3.6 APG, 3.5 RPG) and Pat Calathes (12.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG) the
undoubted stars of the team.
Veteran Israeli big man Ido Kozikaro (10.1
PPG, 6.8 RPG) is playing some of the best basketball of his career with his 35th
birthday around the corner and the addition of talented Israeli playmaker Gal
Mekel two weeks ago showed Haifa has no intention of settling for its promising
start to the season.
“Hapoel Jerusalem is a very good team and it is
currently playing its best basketball of the season,” said Greenberg, who will
have to manage without Smith and James Thomas in Sunday’s showdown. “They have
talent, depth and are well coached. We are arriving at the game without two of
our starters, but I have a very good feeling about our team. We had an excellent
week of training and I’m looking forward to seeing how we play on
Jerusalem remained in contention for a place in the Eurocup Last
16 on Wednesday, beating BC Prienai of Lithuania 92-79 thanks to one of its
better performances of the season.
Sharon Drucker’s team also won for the
fourth time in five BSL games last week, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 86-81 on
the road to improve to 4-4.
Hapoel Eilat, which is tied with Haifa in
second position with a 6-2 record, goes for its sixth win in seven contests when
it hosts Maccabi Ashdod on Sunday.
Elsewhere Sunday, Ironi Ashkelon hosts
Rishon Lezion and Hapoel Holon visits Hapoel Tel Aviv.
On Monday, Barak
Netanya welcomes Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil visits Bnei Herzliya.