(photo credit: SHAY GILBOA/BSL)
After a much-needed oneday break, Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to the practice court on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s BSL game against Hapoel Eilat.
Maccabi is likely to still be without star forward Devin Smith, who is suffering from an ankle sprain. Despite having to play without Smith, Maccabi led for most of Tuesday’s Euroleague Top 16 opener against Panathinaikos in Athens, only to ultimately lose 83-76.
With an important Euroleague showdown against Red Star Belgrade coming up on Thursday, coach Guy Goodes will not want to play Smith unless he is fully fit.
The yellow-and-blue has won seven straight BSL contests to move to 11-2 and open a twogame lead at the top of the standings, while Eilat (6-7) has claimed four of five encounters to steady the ship after a rocky start to the campaign.
Week 14 action will continue on Sunday when Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Jerusalem, with four more games to be played on Monday: Bnei Herzliya vs Hapoel Holon; Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil vs Ironi Nahariya; Maccabi Ashdod vs Ironi Ness Ziona; Maccabi Haifa vs Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Hapoel Tel Aviv will enter its new arena at the former site of the drive-in when it hosts Jerusalem.
Police notified the club on Thursday that the arena has yet to meet its regulations, but the final stamp of approval is expected to be given in time for Sunday’s game.
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Jerusalem enters the encounter on the back of four straight losses after dropping to a humbling 89-70 defeat at Hapoel Holon on Wednesday.
Jerusalem will be without injured point guards Derwin Kitchen and Bar Timor once more on Sunday, as well as center Yaniv Green, who suffered a gruesome knee injury in Holon.
The 34-year-old will miss the rest of the season and may well have played the last game of his career considering his age and the long and arduous recovery process he faces.
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