Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu had just seven points in last night’s embarrassing 83-59 loss at Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
After seeing its impressive Eurocup campaign come to an end in Valencia three days earlier, Hapoel Jerusalem was reminded on Saturday that life in the BSL is also anything but straightforward, being humiliated 83-59 at Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Jerusalem fell to a 13-11 record and has still got plenty of work to do to simply qualify for the playoffs, not to mention finish in the top four and secure home-court advantage in the quarterfinals.
Jerusalem will have just a two-game lead over ninth place in the standings following this weekend’s action, with nine regular season games to play.
Rishon looked the sharper team from the start on Saturday, and all but secured the win by opening a 20-point gap (45-25) by the break, with Hapoel being held to six points in the second quarter.
Cameron Long had 18 points for Rishon, which improved to 11-13, keeping it in the top eight in the standings.
Tarence Kinsey was Jerusalem’s only player in double figures, scoring 15 points.
“There is no point in talking about basketball, because this had nothing to do with basketball,” said Jerusalem coach Simone Pianigiani. “This season isn’t over. This was a punch in the face and is something we can’t accept. We need to reset and start over. These nightmares can happen.”
Also Saturday, Ironi Nahariya (11-13) beat Maccabi Haifa (12- 12) 78-69 behind 23 points from Yancy Gates.
On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv can take a significant step towards securing the No. 1 seed in the playoffs when it hosts Hapoel Holon.
Maccabi, which has a 17-6 record, can open a two-game lead at the top of the standings by completing a regular season sweep of Holon (16-7).
Maccabi will be playing its fifth game in 10 days, coming off a 93-77 Euroleague defeat to Zalgiris Kaunas at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Thursday.
Tel Aviv couldn’t build on its surprise 81-79 win over Fenerbahce in Istanbul two days earlier, falling to a 10-18 record and 14th place out of 16 teams in the standings.
The yellow-and-blue has 10 regular-season games remaining, and opening a two-game gap on Holon while also holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, will leave it in an ideal position to finish in first place and ensure the season-ending Final Four tournament will be held at Yad Eliyahu.