Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Brian Randle was one of his team’s better players last night, but he couldn’t help the yellow-and-blue avoid a 88-82 defeat to CSKA Moscow at Yad Eliyahu Arena..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
It was like the good old days again at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Sunday night, with Maccabi Tel Aviv totally outplaying Maccabi Haifa in a 103-63 BSL victory.
Tel Aviv had lost in five of its previous seven games at home over all competitions, including to CSKA Moscow in Euroleague action on Thursday in Zan Tabak’s first game at the helm.
However, the yellow-and-blue displayed some improvement against CSKA and built on the momentum against Haifa with a performance reminiscent of the days it dominated the league, with the Greens entering the encounter allowing a league-low 69.3 points per game.
The yellow-and-blue led by just six points (30-24) after one quarter, but entered the break with a comfortable 51-35 advantage after holding Haifa to 11 points in the second period and cruised after that.
Jordan Farmar broke out of his slump with 18 points and seven assists, with Guy Pnini adding 15 points for Maccabi, which visits Unicaja Malaga in a crucial Euroleague contest on Thursday. Alex Chubrevich had 14 points for Haifa, which fell to 4-3.
“What has made the difference is the attitude,” explained Tabak. “The only thing we are doing now which we didn’t do before is that we are more aggressive defensively and are trying to run. We are still a long way from where we want to be, but this is a first step.”
Maccabi Rishon Lezion (5-2) remains half a game back of Maccabi Tel Aviv after surviving a late Ironi Ness Ziona run to claim a 68-65 victory on Sunday.
Rishon led by 10 points (18-8) after 10 minutes and remained in control until the break, taking a 13-point into the second half (35-22). The visitors were still ahead by double figures (52-41) heading into the final frame, but a 13-4 run capped by a Tal Karpelesz three-pointer brought Ness Ziona within three points with 1:39 minutes remaining. However, Karpelesz missed a chance to tie the score in his team’s next possession and Rishon held on for the win.
Darryl Monroe was sensational for Rishon once more, finishing with 25 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Yuval Naimi scored 21 points for Ness Ziona, which fell to 2-6, with Diamon Simpson adding 16 points and 16 boards.
“We didn’t have a great game, but the important thing is that we won,” said Rishon coach Sharon Drucker. “This is a tough league and every game is a battle.”
The hottest team in the league will target its fifth consecutive victory on Monday when Maccabi Ashdod (4-3) hosts Maccabi Kiryat Gat (2-5). Ashdod opened the season with three consecutive defeats, but has found its rhythm since the start of November, claiming four straight wins, including against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Eilat.
The key for Ashdod, which is seeking a club record fifth straight win, has been its offensive play, averaging 90.8 points per game in its wins compared to 72.3 points in its losses.
Also Monday, Hapoel Holon (2-4) hosts Ironi Nahariya (4-3).