Hapoel Jerusalem tied a club record with its 13th consecutive league win on Sunday night, beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 92-81 at Malha Arena to ensure it will enter next week’s showdown with Maccabi Tel Aviv from first place in the BSL standings.
Jerusalem improved to a 16-3 record, but was forced to dig deeper than expected against a Tel Aviv side playing without starters Raviv Limonad and Matan Naor.
Tel Aviv led by five points midway through the third period, but the hosts scored nine of the final 10 points of the quarter to open a six-point cushion (67-61) and remained in front throughout the fourth frame.
Ronald Dupree had 23 points for Jerusalem, with Lior Eliyahu scoring 17 points and Bracey Wright netting 15 points. Josh Duncan contributed a double- double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Carlon Brown led Tel Aviv (11- 8) with 31 points, but couldn’t help his team avoid a fourth defeat from the past six league games.
Maccabi Ashdod’s hopes of survival suffered another significant blow on Sunday following an 82-76 home defeat to Hapoel Holon.
Ashdod fell to 3-16, coming back from 15 points down (50- 35) to within a single point (71- 70) in the fourth quarter, only to fail to complete the comeback.
D.J. Kennedy led five Holon (9-10) players in double figures with 17 points, while Elijah Millsap scored 21 points for Ashdod.
Bnei Herzliya (6-13) moved three games clear of Ashdod by snapping a seven-game losing streak with an 84-79 overtime victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion (6-13).
Rishon held a slender lead for much of the night, but Frank Hassell’s basket to beat the buzzer would force an extra period and Herzliya clinched the win by scoring the final seven points of the night.
New signing Stanley Burrell had 24 points and seven assists for Herzliya, with Tasmin Mitchell scoring 21 points for Rishon.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil (8-11) beat Barak Netanya (7-12) 73-70. Kenny Boynton led Gilboa with 20 points, while Dawan Robinson netted 18 points for Netanya.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv will aim to extend its BSL winning streak to 10 games when it visits Hapoel Eilat in a repeat of the cup final from 10 days ago won by the yellow-and-blue.
Maccabi will have to manage without Devin Smith, who received treatment for his ailing knee and is expected to also miss Friday’s Euroleague encounter against CSKA Moscow in Russia.
At least center Alex Tyus is probable to play on Monday after being sidelined during Thursday’s Euroleague win over Bayern Munich.
New big-man Andrija Zizic arrived in Israel on Sunday, but will not make his debut until next week. “When Maccabi calls you, you don’t think too much,” said the 34-year-old Croatian.
Also Monday, Maccabi Haifa (12-6) hosts Ironi