Mac TA faces Habika’a after Euroleague, Adriatic Ws

By
December 18, 2011 00:02

Yellow-and-blue prove over the past three days that it can manage without Jordan Farmar.

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SOFOKLIS SCHORTSANITIS of Maccabi Tel Aviv

Sofo 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Maccabi Tel Aviv will go for its third emphatic win in four days on Sunday night when its hosts BC Habika’a in BSL action.

Maccabi had struggled to find its way after Jordan Farmar’s departure, suffering defeats to Real Madrid in the Euroleague and KK Zagreb in the Adriatic League, and even when winning, doing so in far from impressive fashion.

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However, the yellow-and-blue proved over the past three days that it can manage without the New Jersey Nets playmaker – at least for the time being – thrashing Efes Istanbul by 39 points (96- 57) to secure second place in Euroleague Group C on Thursday before crushing Slovenia’s Helios Domzale by 38 points (94-56) on Saturday to improve to 10-1 in the Adriatic.

“It is not easy to play day after day, but I hope we can find the energies and come with passion to defeat Habika’a,” Maccabi coach David Blatt said on Saturday.

After a tight first half on Thursday, Maccabi all but clinched the win over the Turks by outscoring Efes 29-15 in the third period. On Saturday, Tel Aviv outscored its opponent 29-15 in the first quarter and never looked back.

Sofoklis Schortsanitis was unstoppable for a second straight game, scoring 21 points and taking seven rebounds against Domzale after netting 17 against Istanbul.

Shawn James and Keith Langford added 19 and 12 points, respectively, on Saturday.

Habika’a will not be looking forward to Sunday’s trip to Nokia Arena after losing three of its past four games to fall to 4-4 on the season.

Also Sunday, Maccabi Ashdod hosts Bnei Hasharon and Hapoel Holon visits Maccabi Haifa, which will be without center Sean Williams, who has told the team that he plans to leave immediately.

Barak Netanya welcomes Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Monday.

Hapoel Jerusalem bounced back from its painful midweek Eurocup exit on Saturday, but only just, edging Maccabi Rishon Lezion 88-87 at Malha Arena for its fifth BSL win in six games.

Jerusalem lost any hope of advancing to the last 16 of the Eurocup after suffering its fourth defeat in five continental games at the hands of BC Donetsk on Tuesday and it needed a late comeback to avoid a second straight home loss against Rishon.

Rishon ended the first period with an 11-3 run to open a 31-23 lead, but the hosts came right back, taking a 52-48 advantage into the break.

It was Rishon’s turn to dominate in the third frame and the visitors led 72-67 with 10 minutes to play.

Rishon still had a six-point margin (82-76) with five minutes remaining, but Hapoel only allowed the visitors five more points in the remainder of the encounter and Guni Izraeli’s threepointer with 40 seconds to play gave Jerusalem a one-point lead (86-85) it would maintain for an important win.

Izraeli ended the game with 22 points and seven assists, with D.J.

Strawberry also scoring 22.

Joe Crawford led five Rishon players in double-figures with 24 points, but Effi Birenboim’s team still failed to avoid a second straight loss by a single point after last week’s 76-75 defeat to Maccabi Tel Aviv.


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