Hap TA’s Justin Harper .
Hapoel Jerusalem looks to avenge its last defeat to an Israeli team when it hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv in BSL action at Malha Arena on Sunday night.
Jerusalem hasn’t lost in local competitions since it was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the State Cup by Tel Aviv two months ago. The team from the capital has since won the seven games it has played in the BSL, taking its winning streak in the league to 12 contests. Brad Greenberg’s side has also excelled in the Eurocup, advancing to the round-of-16 with a game to spare after winning group M last Wednesday. Jerusalem, which leads the BSL standings with a 15-3 record, beat Olimpija Ljubljana 86-77 for its sixth continental conquest from the past seven games.
Tel Aviv (11-7), on the other hand, has lost its way over recent weeks, falling in the cup semifinals to Hapoel Eilat before dropping to its third defeat in five BSL games last Sunday, suffering a painful 32-point derby drubbing at the hands of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Coach Erez Edelstein will be without injured starters Raviv Limonad and Matan Naor once more on Sunday, making Tel Aviv’s mission of winning at Malha significantly tougher, although the hosts will have to manage without the services of key swingman Derwin Kitchen, who is set to be out for up to two weeks with a sprained ankle.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Ashdod (3-15) hosts Hapoel Holon (8-10), Maccabi Rishon Lezion (6-12) visits Bnei Herzliya (5-13) and Barak Netanya (7-11) welcomes Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (7-11).
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv (14-4) will aim to extend its BSL winning streak to 10 games when it visits Hapoel Eilat (10-8) in a repeat of the cup final from 10 days ago won by the yellowand- blue. Maccabi will be without big-man Alex Tyus, as well as center Shawn James, who underwent surgery on his back on Friday and could be out until the end of the season. Tyus was sidelined during Thursday’s Euroleague win over Bayern Munich, and while he will not be fit to face Eilat, Maccabi is hoping he will be able to play against CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague in Russia on Friday.
As a result, Sofoklis Schortsanitis will be Tel Aviv’s only available center on Monday. Also Monday, Maccabi Haifa (12-6) hosts Ironi Ness Ziona (10-8).
Surging Jerusalem aims to roll on against Hapoel TA Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Orel Dgani (left) battles Bnei Yehuda’s Liam Walker during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Bloomfield Stadium. (Adi Avishai) standings Hapoel Tel Aviv will need Justin Harper (15) to be at his very best if the Reds are to have any chance of defeating Hapoel Jerusalem and Lior Eliyahu (4) at Malha Arena tonight.
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