Maccabi Tel Aviv's Devin Smith 370.
(photo credit:Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv made it a half-century of Israeli championships on Thursday
night, beating Maccabi Ashdod 83-63 in the BSL final at Nokia
Despite being discounted ahead of the Final Four championship
game, Ashdod kept pace with Tel Aviv for the first three quarters with an
However, an 11-0 yellowand- blue run to start the
fourth period gave Tel Aviv a 19-point gap (72-53) and Maccabi added the local
championship to the State Cup and Adriatic League trophies it lifted earlier
After a tight first quarter ended in a two-point Tel Aviv
lead (19-17), Maccabi exploded in the second period, hitting three-pointers at
will to open a double-digit lead which Ashdod could not erase.
scored 15 of 24 from three-point range (62 percent), while Ashdod hit only 13
percent of its attempts from beyond the arc (3 of 23).
Devin Smith and
Keith Langford led Maccabi with 16 points each, with David Blu scoring 14 and
Yogev Ohayon contributing 10 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Tyus had 16 points and nine boards for Ashdod, which overcame No. 2 seed Hapoel
Gilboa/Galil in four games in the playoff quarterfinals before beating No. 3
seed Maccabi Rishon Lezion to reach the final.
Josh Carter and Josh
Duncan scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, for Ashdod, which was playing in
its first final in just its second season in the top flight.
after accepting this season’s MVP award, Lior Eliyahu scored the first points of
the night and Tel Aviv opened an early five-point cushion (7-2) following five
consecutive points from Ohayon.
However, needles turnovers and bad misses
allowed Ashdod back into the game, with a Carter three-pointer cutting the
deficit to a single point (14-13) with just over two minutes remaining in the
Two more points by Carter gave Ashdod its first lead of the
game, and despite ending the first period down by two points (19-17) following a
Langford triple, Ashdod was exactly where it hoped to be after 10
A Carter three at the start of the second period saw Ashdod move
in front once more (20- 19), but a Tel Aviv bombardment from beyond the arc
would follow, opening a double- digit margin from which Ashdod was always going
to struggle to come back.
Three triples in quick succession by Blu gave
Maccabi a 30- 22 lead and two consecutive three by Smith gave Tel Aviv its
biggest gap of the first half (39- 26) with four minutes left in the
Alon Stein, who joined Tel Aviv in the summer mainly to help make
up the numbers in training scrimmages, playing just 28 total minutes
throughout the regular season, came on late in the first half to allow Ohayon
some rest and the 34-year-old’s jumper to end the period made sure Maccabi still
held a significant cushion (44-33) at the break.
Tyus, who may well find
himself playing for Tel Aviv very soon should he get Israeli citizenship, showed
exactly why the yellow-and-blue are interested in his services by scoring five
consecutive points to bring Ashdod within six points (48-42).
Langford cooled Ashdod’s excitement with a triple at the other end and another
long-range basket from Guy Pnini made it an 11- point game (59-48) once
Ashdod was still just about within striking distance (61-53) at the
start of the fourth frame, but it took over four-and-a-half minutes to score its
first points of the quarter, allowing Maccabi to clinch the win with an 11-0
Ohayon orchestrated Maccabi’s surge and Blu’s basket with 5:45
remaining took the gap to 72-53.
Another Tel Aviv three, this time by
Smith, made it a 20- point game (75-55) and Maccabi cruised to a third title in
the 85th game of its longest ever season.
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