Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Jerusalem .
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Despite his team’s comfortable gap at the top of the BSL standings and the upcoming visit to Real Madrid in Euroleague action later in the week, Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Guy Goodes is not overlooking Monday’s showdown against Hapoel Jerusalem at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
Maccabi holds a five-game lead over second-place Jerusalem after winning its past 17 league contests and will be in an upbeat mood following its return to winning ways in the Top 16 on Thursday, beating Zalgiris Kaunas at Yad Eliyahu.
Tel Aviv’s last loss in local action came over four months ago, with Maccabi outplaying Jerusalem in the State Cup final last month in the most recent showdown between the teams.
In the last BSL meeting between Maccabi and Jerusalem, the yellow- and-blue won by 20 points and it will be a firm favorite yet again on Monday.
“This is a very important game,” said Goodes. “We beat them in the cup final, but Jerusalem is an excellent team. This may be our last meeting before a possible showdown in the playoff finals.”
Maccabi (21-2) will be without injured center Sofoklis Schortsanitis, with Israeli Sylven Landesberg still out with a stress fracture in his right foot.
“Our lack of Israeli players means some players are seeing more minutes than we would like, but we have no choice as we must win both in the BSL and Euroleague,” said Goodes. “It is very important for us to build on our momentum in the BSL, especially as we are facing Jerusalem.”
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Jerusalem (16-7) won six straight league games after losing in the BSL to Maccabi before suffering a surprise setback against Maccabi Ashdod last week.
“We are entering the game on the back of a disappointing defeat,” said Jerusalem coach Danny Franco, who will have to manage without the injured Joseph Jones. “We will do our best with a short-handed roster and we will be looking to win.”
In BSL action on Sunday, Bnei Herzliya (11-13) made it five wins from six games with an 89-88 victory over Ironi Ness Ziona (11-13).
Aviram Zelikovic scored the go-ahead basket for the hosts and Meir Tapiro missed a chance to win the game for Ness Ziona at the buzzer.
Josh Selby led Herzliya with 22 points while Deron Washington added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Tal Dan and Mitchell Watt had 25 and 24 points, respectively, for Ness Ziona, which has lost eight of nine contests.
After claiming its first win in 2015 last week, Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil (6-18) returned to losing ways on Sunday, dropping to a painful 100-71 defeat at Hapoel Eilat (11-13). Afik Nissim had 18 points for Eilat, which opened the game with a 15-2 run and never looked back. Stanley Burrell finished with 20 points for Gilboa.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Holon (14-10) climbed back up to third place by defeating Maccabi Ashdod (7-17) 90-85. Jordan Taylor and Dominic McGuire led Holon with 19 points each, while Ivan Aska had 26 points for the losers.
Also on Monday, Maccabi Haifa (10-13) faces Maccabi Rishon Lezion (12-11).
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