Mac TA beaten again in BSL; Haifa holds off J’lem
Yellow-and-blue suffers back-to-back losses in local league for first time in nearly five years.
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt Photo: Adi Avishai
Maccabi Tel Aviv suffered consecutive BSL defeats for the first time in almost
five years on Sunday, losing 76-70 to Barak Netanya at Zisman Arena in Ramat
Maccabi, which was hosting the game away from Nokia Arena due to a
prearranged conference, reignited its Euroleague Top 16 campaign with its third
straight continental win at Fenerbahce Ulker on Thursday.
However, for a
second straight week it failed to recover from its European exertions in time
for local league action, losing to a struggling Netanya side a week after
falling to a floundering Hapoel Tel Aviv.
“There’s a stage in the season
when I need to make a decision where to invest my resources,” said Maccabi coach
David Blatt, who rested center Shawn James. “If this costs us here and there,
and it has cost us in the past two weeks, we will just have to live with it, as
painful as it may be.”
Maccabi hosts Khimki Moscow at Nokia on Thursday
night in another Euroleague encounter it can’t afford to lose.
seemed to be going according to the script when Maccabi’s Darko Planinic opened
an eightpoint gap (15-7) in the first quarter.
However, a 17-2 run by
Netanya turned the game on its head (24-17), with Maccabi scoring just 12 points
in the second period and entering the halftime break down by 12 points
Netanya maintained a double- digit margin throughout the third
frame, but it seemed to be only a matter of time until Tel Aviv would complete a
comeback when Ricky Hickman capped a 7-0 run to bring the yellow-andblue within
four points (61- 57) with just under six minutes to play.
Netanya would hold on for an important win after losing six of its previous
Marco Killingsworth had 19 points and eight rebounds for
Netanya, with Ramel Bradley and Deron Washington scoring 14 points each for
Danny Franco’s side, which improved to 10-10.
“Maccabi is an amazing team
and we see that almost every Thursday and obviously its focus is currently
elsewhere,” said Franco. “However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve
credit for this win.”
Hickman had 14 points for Maccabi, which fell to
17-3 on the season.
Maccabi Haifa (13-7) took an important step towards
wrapping up the runners-up position at the end of the regular season on Sunday,
beating Hapoel Jerusalem 91-84 at Romema Arena to leapfrog into second place
ahead of Hapoel Eilat (12-8), which lost 98-87 at Maccabi Ashdod.
playing without Craig Smith, who is set to be cut from the roster this week
after criticizing coach Sharon Drucker in the media, Jerusalem led 51-48 at the
break and was still in the game with 10 minutes to play (66-66).
an 11-2 surge to start the fourth quarter gave Haifa a lead it wouldn’t
relinquish on the way to its fourth straight win.
Pat Calathes had 26
points and 12 boards for Haifa, with Donta Smith scoring 18.
led Jerusalem with 24 points and eight rebounds.
In Ashdod, the hosts
outscored Eilat 34-21 in the second quarter and never looked back.
Simpson had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Ashdod, with Austin Freeman netting 21
Larry O’Bannon led Eilat with 20 points.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion edged Ironi Ashkelon 98-96 thanks to Adrian Uter’s basket
with nine seconds left.
Uter led Rishon with 24 points, while Marque
Perry scored 23 points for Ashkelon, which lost its ninth straight
On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv will look to build on last week’s
stunning victory in the derby when it visits Hapoel Holon, while second-to-last
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil hosts Bnei Herzliya.