J’lem falls to Rishon at Malha

By
March 5, 2013 05:48

Hapoel Jerusalem loses important ground in the battle for the No. 2 seed in the BSL playoffs.

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Mac TA's Shawn James, Lior Eliyahu, Guy Pnini, Devin Smith

Mac TA's Shawn James, Lior Eliyahu, Guy Pnini, Devin Smith . (photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv website)

Hapoel Jerusalem lost important ground in the battle for the No. 2 seed in the BSL playoffs on Monday, dropping to a 91-83 defeat to Maccabi Rishon Lezion at Malha Arena.

After Hapoel Eilat and Maccabi Haifa both won on Sunday, Jerusalem was also hoping to improve to 12-7 and keep the three-horse race for second place at the end of the regular season as tight as possible.

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However, Rishon would seize control of Monday’s encounter with a 12-2 run in the third quarter (61-56), taking a fivepoint lead (66-61) into the final frame and comfortably holding on to improve to 10-9.

Julian Wright had 23 points and 13 rebounds for Rishon, with Willie Warren adding 20 points and Lazeric Jones scoring 16.

Courtney Fells had 25 points for Jerusalem, which still has to visit both Haifa and Eilat in two of its three remaining regular season games.

A day after losing to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the derby for the first time in nine years, Maccabi Tel Aviv players visited the Air Force base in Palmachim on Monday to take part in an exhibition game against high ranking officers.

Hapoel snapped Maccabi’s 15-game BSL winning streak with a 69-65 triumph, but Guy Pnini was confident the defeat would not affect the team’s preparations for Thursday’s crucial Euroleague game at Fenerbahce Ulker.

“We are back in the hunt for a place in the quarterfinals and we can’t slip up in Turkey,” Pnini said. “Even though it takes time to recover from a defeat in the derby, we must get back to winning ways.”


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