Hapoel Jerusalem hoping to carry momentum into Romania

While the 93-63 victory over Maccabi will live long in the memories of both Jerusalem and yellow-and-blue fans, it was just one of 33 BSL regular season games.

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November 5, 2014 08:42
2 minute read.
Lior Eliyahu

Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu (L) faces his old team, Maccabi Tel Aviv. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

 
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Three days after handing Maccabi Tel Aviv its heaviest-ever defeat in local competition, Hapoel Jerusalem faces its most important game of the week on Wednesday night.

While the 93-63 victory over Maccabi will live long in the memories of both Jerusalem and yellow-and-blue fans, it was just one of 33 BSL regular season games. At most, it will affect the playoff seeding, although that too is unlikely.

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However, Wednesday’s visit of Romania’s CSU Ploiesti in Eurocup regular season action may well go a long way to determining if Hapoel qualifies for the Last 32.

After opening its regular season campaign with two tight defeats, Jerusalem only barely escaped a disastrous 0-3 start by edging Partizan Belgrade 82-79 last week.

At 1-2 and with seven more games to play in Group E, Hapoel remains confident of finishing among the top four and advancing to the next round. However, a defeat in Romania will set Jerusalem back once more and leave it in a precarious position.

“The win against Maccabi actually means we face a mental test when we come up against Ploiesti,” said Jerusalem coach Danny Franco. “The Romanians are a good team and have recorded some good results. There is no comparison between the teams in the BSL and the ones in Europe.

We find it a lot more difficult against European opponents.”



Jerusalem and Ploiesti also met in the Eurocup last season, with Hapoel winning both encounters.

The Romanians dropped to 2-1 last week following an 81-66 loss to Banvit Bandirma in Turkey.

Ploiesti opened its campaign with an 81-75 road win over Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd before recording an impressive 20-point home triumph over Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius.

One of the keys for Hapoel will be to stop Ploiesti playmaker Dee Brown. The American guard, who played five Euroleague games for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 2008/09 season, is averaging 12.0 points and a Eurocup-best 10.3 assists through the first three games.

“If we win this second game at home, then we will be in a favorable position and everything will depend only on us,” said Ploiesti coach Vladimir Arnautovic. “I am aware that we didn’t play our best basketball in Bandirma last week, but we are ready to fix those mistakes and make a good game against Hapoel. We played two very balanced games against them last year and I hope that this time we will smile at the end.”

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