Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Sofoklis Schortsanitis.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv will enter next week’s BSL showdown against Hapoel Jerusalem with a perfect 4-0 record, after claiming a comfortable 87-61 victory over Ironi Nahariya at Nokia Arena on Monday night.
The yellow-and-blue showed no lasting effects from its humbling 99-80 Euroleague loss at CSKA Moscow last week, although Nahariya was never going to pose much of a threat.
A three-point play by Sofoklis Schortsanitis gave Maccabi an early double-digit gap (16-6), but Nahariya closed to within a single point (22-21) by the end of the first quarter.
There was still only five points (42-37) separating the teams at the break, but Tel Aviv began the second half with a 12-0 run and outscored Nahariya 22-6 in the third frame to take a 21-point margin (64-43) into the final quarter, rendering it as no more than garbage time.
Both Maccabi and Jerusalem are undefeated ahead of their clash in the capital next Sunday and have proven so far this season that they are far superior to the rest of the league.
Maccabi has won its four games by an average 15.5 points, while Jerusalem has done so by 18.3 points per contest.
Before it turns its focus to Jerusalem, Maccabi will first hope to return to winning ways in the Euroleague, when it visits Alba Berlin on Thursday.
Jeremy Pargo bounced back from his disappointing showing in Moscow on Monday, finishing with 21 points and six assists. Sylven Landesberg added 16 points and six rebounds for the hosts, while Julian Mavunga had 14 points and nine boards for Nahariya, which fell to 0-4.
Ironi Ness Ziona improved to 3-1 on Monday, edging Maccabi Rishon Lezion 86-83 on the road. A 17-3 run to end the first half gave Rishon a 46-32 advantage at the break and the hosts led by as many as 17 points in the third period before capitulating. Craig Smith and Preston Knowles led Ness Ziona’s comeback, with the former finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds and the latter also scoring 22 points.
Larry O’Bannon led six Rishon players in double figures with 18 points.
Also Monday, Bnei Herzliya claimed its first win of the season, beating Hapoel Eilat 100-95. A strong finish to the first half saw Herzliya take a 13-point gap into the interval and the hosts survived a late Eilat fightback.
Yuval Naimi led Herzliya with 25 points and a careerhigh 11 assists, with Jasper Johnson adding 20 points and 10 rebounds. Khalif Wyatt had 25 points and six assists for the disappointing Eilat squad.
“Something is very disjointed in our team,” admitted Eilat coach Dan Shamir. “We need to all go home and think about what we can do now because the situation doesn’t look good.”