Hapoel Tel Aviv center Robert Rothbart (left) had 12 points and seven rebounds in last night’s 82-66 win over Ironi Ness Ziona and Diamon Simpson (right)..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Rishon Lezion opened their BSL seasons with impressive wins on Monday, while Hapoel Holon edged Bnei Herzliya in its first league game at its new arena.
An 18-3 run to finish the game gave Tel Aviv an 82-66 win at Ironi Ness Ziona, with Rishon defeating last season’s runner-up Hapoel Eilat 95-86.
The season’s first overtime was played in Holon where the hosts claimed a tight 94-93 victory over Bnei Herzliya.
Jeremis Smith scored 21 points for Holon, with Drew Crawford netting 18 points for Herzliya.
In Ness Ziona, the hosts led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, but Hapoel replied with a 12-0 surge and the score was tied at 38-38 at the break.
Tel Aviv led throughout the third period, but it held just a four-point cushion (57-53) entering the final 10 minutes. The teams were still separated by only a single point (64-63) midway through the fourth quarter, but Hapoel would end the game with an 18-3 run to clinch the win.
Chris Evans had 20 points and seven rebounds for Tel Aviv. Jeff Allen finished with 18 points and 18 boards, while Raviv Limonad added 15 points and Robert Rothbart contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.
Diamon Simpson led Ness Ziona with 17 points and 10 boards.
There was little to separate the teams for most of the first half in Rishon, but the hosts scored eight of the final nine points of the period to open an eight-point margin (43-35).
Eilat would come no closer than four points in the second half, with Rishon opening the fourth frame with a 10-2 run to establish an unassailable 15-point gap (74-59).
The impressive Darryl Monroe led Rishon with 18 points, 13 rebounds, six steals and five assists, with Chris Evans also scoring 18 points.
Mark Lyons and Golan Gutt had 16 points each, with Shawn Dawson netting 13. Kevin Palmer scored 20 points for Eilat, with Khalif Wyatt adding 19.
Maccabi Haifa and Ironi Nahariya will be the final two teams to open their BSL campaigns when they meet at Romema Arena in Haifa on Friday.
Haifa suffered a humbling 126-83 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday night, with Kobe Bryant scoring 21 points in 18 minutes. Haifa gave the Memphis Grizzlies a run for their money before losing 97-84 last Thursday, but the Greens were steamrolled by the Lakers in their second exhibition game in the US.
Reggie Buckner, in his second game with Haifa, led the Greens with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Oz Blayzer scored 17 points.