Hapoel Tel Av iv forward Tony Gaffney scored 23 points in his debut for the team last night, a 95-86 home victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion in BSL action..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem enter their first meeting of the season desperate to claim a prestigious victory, but also with one eye on potentially crucial continental contests later in the week.
The two powerhouses of local basketball arrive at the showdown in Jerusalem with the two best records in the BSL, having lost one game between them.
Maccabi is a perfect 7-0 in the local league, while Jerusalem has a 6-1 record.
Tel Aviv is coming off an 81-74 win over Zalgiris Kaunas to improve to 6-4 in the Euroleague and will host Valencia of Spain on Thursday.
Maccabi then visits CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos before welcoming reigning champion Fenerbahce in a seven- day stretch that could hardly be more difficult.
A win over Valencia will at least give Tel Aviv some breathing space, moving it three games over .500 for the first time this season.
The victory against Zalgiris was Maccabi’s seventh in nine games over all competitions in November and the yellow-and-blue would like nothing more than to open a tough December schedule with a win over Jerusalem.
Hapoel hasn’t played in nearly two weeks, being off during the international break.
Jerusalem has won all three of its games since Mody Maor was promoted to the head coaching position, each by double figures.
As much as it would like to beat Maccabi, everyone at Hapoel is aware that it will be playing its most important game this week in Montenegro on Wednesday when it visits Buducnost in Eurocup action. Jerusalem has a 2-4 record with four regular season games to play.
On Saturday, Hapoel Holon registered its sixth straight BSL win, coming back from a double- digit halftime deficit to beat Ironi Ness Ziona 92-86. Ness Ziona led 51-39 at the break and by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. But Holon completed its comeback (through a Guy Pnini three-pointer and remained in front until the finish.
Glen Rice Jr. had 25 points, six rebounds and five assists for Holon, with Tal Dan finishing with 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for Ness Ziona.
Also Saturday, Tony Gaffney scored 23 points in his debut for Hapoel Tel Aviv, leading the team to a 95-86 win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion.