BSL co-leaders get subpar foes prior to crunch showdown

Tel Aviv registered its eighth consecutive win over all competitions and fourth in a row in the league.

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December 31, 2015 05:26
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sylven Landesberg hopes to build on his recent improved form when the yello

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sylven Landesberg hopes to build on his recent improved form when the yellow-and-blue hosts Hapoel Holon tonight at Yad Eliyahu Arena.. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

 
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With their clash at the Jerusalem Arena just three days away, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem look to gather momentum and avoid unexpected setbacks in BSL action on Thursday night.

Maccabi and Jerusalem are tied at 10-3 at the top of the standings after both won earlier this week. The yellow-and-blue, which hosts Hapoel Holon on Thursday, cruised to another comfortable victory, thrashing Bnei Herzliya 102-74.

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Tel Aviv registered its eighth consecutive win over all competitions and fourth in a row in the league.

Since losing to Ironi Nahariya at the end of November, Maccabi has won five straight local games, including in the State Cup round of 16, by an average 23 points per contest.

Holon isn’t expected to pose much of a threat on Thursday, with Dan Shamir’s team in last place with a 3-9 record after losing eight of its past nine games.

Jerusalem, which visits Ironi Ness Ziona on Thursday, returned to winning ways at Holon’s expense on Monday, claiming an 83-74 triumph on the road.

Jerusalem suffered a shock cup exit at the hands of Maccabi Haifa last Thursday after also losing to Maccabi Ashdod in BSL action earlier in the week. However, it picked up some much-needed confidence against Holon and will be looking to make it two straight wins against an improving Ness Ziona side.



“We experienced a bad and very difficult week before beating Holon,” said Jerusalem coach Danny Franco. “We were slapped in the face and sank to a new low. Every game in this league is difficult. The days when teams used to thrash each other are over.”

Ness Ziona moved to 5-8 with its second straight league win on Sunday, beating Maccabi Kiryat Gat after also advancing to the cup quarterfinals last week.

Maccabi Rishon Lezion (9-3), which is half-a-game back of the leaders, aims to remain within striking distance of the top two when it hosts Bnei Herzliya (7-6) on Thursday. Rishon has won five of its past six BSL games.

“You win with heart and sacrifice and with players that are willing to do everything for the team,” said Rishon coach Sharon Drucker following Monday’s 80-73 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv. “That is my motto and I think my team plays that way.

We have a crazy schedule with four games a week, but we will do our best to show up for every game. We have a team that plays better than the sum of its parts and that is something you look for in sports.”

Also Thursday, Hapoel Eilat hosts Maccabi Ashdod.

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