Jerusalem claims 2nd BSL title in 3 years

Haifa just missed out on completing an unlikely dream run after only qualifying for the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

June 16, 2017 00:15
3 minute read.
Hapoel Jerusalem guard Jerome Dyson.

Hapoel Jerusalem guard Jerome Dyson scored a game-high 30 points in last night’s 83-76 win over Maccabi Haifa in the BSL final at Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)


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Hapoel Jerusalem is back on top of Israeli basketball, winning its second BSL championship in three years on Thursday night after defeating Maccabi Haifa 83-76 in the Final Four title game at Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv.

A tumultuous campaign ended in the sweetest way possible for Jerusalem, which claimed its first league title in club history two years ago before suffering a shock defeat to Maccabi Rishon Lezion in last season’s final.

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Despite reaching the Eurocup semifinals, Hapoel struggled for consistency in local action this season, registering a 19-14 record in the regular season to enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed.

Jerusalem then dug itself a 0-2 hole against Ironi Nahariya, but rebounded to become just the third team to come back from a two-game deficit in a best-of-five series to reach the Final Four.

Jerusalem outplayed Rishon in Monday’s semifinal and once more established a double-digit lead it wouldn’t relinquish in the third period. After scoring 14 points in the first half, Jerome Dyson netted 11 more points over a three-and-a-half minute 15-2 run that opened a 12-point cushion (57-45) Haifa could not erase.

Dyson ended the night with a gamehigh 30 points, with his back-court partner Curtis Jerrells adding 21 points and Tarence Kinsey finishing with 19.

Gregory Vargas had 30 points for Haifa.

Haifa just missed out on completing an unlikely dream run after only qualifying for the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

It then became the first No. 8 seed to knockout a top seed in the quarters before surprising Maccabi Tel Aviv in the semis.

Jerusalem got off to the better start on Thursday, scoring eight of the first 10 points of the night. Haifa remained stuck on two points for the first four-and-a-half minutes.

Its defensive play ensured Hapoel didn’t build a big lead though, with the Greens holding Jerusalem to just three points in the final five minutes of the first period.

After being crowned as the BSL’s player of the season before the game, almost entirely based on his impressive performances in the post-season, John DiBartolomeo gave Haifa its first lead of the night (14-12).

Haifa’s one-point advantage after 10 minutes (14-13) increased to six after Orlando Mendez-Valdez’s eight-point burst at the start of the second period before Gregory Vargas gave Maccabi its biggest margin of the contest (26-18).

Jerusalem soon found its range though, with Dyson’s triple capping an 8-0 surge to tie the score (26-26). Haifa moved back in front, but another 8-0 run gave Hapoel its first lead of the second quarter (41-38).

Mendez-Valdez’s three meant the score was tied at the break (41-41), but Haifa couldn’t keep pace with Jerusalem for much longer.

A Dyson inspired run opened a double- digit gap (57-45) and Hapoel was ahead by 13 points with 10 minutes to play (65- 52). Haifa managed to close to within seven (69-62), but a Jerrells three ended the comeback and the Hapoel fans began a long night of celebrations.

Blatt backtracks on Mac TA return David Blatt will not be returning to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Blatt turned down the club’s offer for a lucrative three-year deal on Thursday, ultimately deciding against tying his long-term future with the yellowand- blue.

Blatt still believes he has a future as a head coach in NBA after being fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in January 2016. Committing to Maccabi for the next three years would have likely ended any chance of him ever returning to the NBA, a decision Blatt wasn’t at peace with.

Blatt will continue for another season at Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul, which will play in the Eurocup next season despite reaching the Euroleague quarters this year.

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