Maccabi Tel Aviv starting to find rhythm

Even with resting stars, yellow-and-blue cruises to 5th overall consecutive conquest • BSL bottleneck.

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November 29, 2016 05:44
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Gal Mekel (right) finished last night’s 91-67 win over Oren Dgani (left) and

Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Gal Mekel (right) finished last night’s 91-67 win over Oren Dgani (left) and Maccabi Kiryat Gat with 13 points and nine assists.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Maccabi Tel Aviv registered its fifth straight victory across all competitions on Monday night, its longest winning streak of the season, by crushing Maccabi Kiryat Gat 91-67 at Yad Eliyahu Arena to improve to 7-1 in the BSL.

Despite the absence of Sonny Weems, Yogev Ohayon and Devin Smith, who were all rested, Maccabi had little trouble steamrolling Kiryat Gat, continuing to build momentum after winning three straight Euroleague games and defeating Hapoel Jerusalem in league action.

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Tel Aviv, which will be confident of extending its streak against Efes Istanbul in the Euroleague on Thursday, will be a firm favorite in its next seven games over all competitions until it hosts reigning European champion CSKA Moscow on December 21.

Andrew Goudelock led six Maccabi players in double figures with 19 points, while Sylven Landesberg continued his recovery from injury with 14 points.

Gal Mekel, who has lost his place in Maccabi’s rotation in the Euroleague, played a team-high 29 minutes and finished with 13 points and nine assists.

“We started slowly, but we are working on keeping our focus at the beginning of games and dominating teams when we can,” said Mekel. “I enjoyed myself. I hadn’t played in a long time.”

Mekel wasn’t sure if his performance earned him playing time on Thursday. “There are things I control and things I don’t control.

I tried to do whatever I could to help the team,” explained Mekel.

Justin Carter had 18 points for Kiryat Gat, which sits in last place with a 2-6 record.

Bnei Herzliya continued to gather pace on Monday, moving to 5-3 with an 83-82 win at Hapoel Gilboa/Galil. There was little to separate the teams throughout the game and the winner wasn’t decided until the final minute. Jason Siggers had a chance to tie the game for Gilboa with seven seconds to play, but his drive to the basket was unsuccessful and Herzliya survived.

Stephen Dennis led Herzliya with 31 points, with Siggers and Eric Griffin scoring 18 points each for Gilboa, which fell to 3-5.

Five teams are tied at 3-5 after Hapoel Eilat registered its first road win of the season on Monday, defeating Hapoel Holon 86-78. Holon took a double-digit lead (28-17) into the second quarter, but held just a two-point edge (42-40) at the break.

Afik Nissim’s three-pointer at the end of the third period put Eilat in pole position (62-57) with 10 minutes to play, a lead the visitors maintained until the final buzzer.

Nissim finished with 15 points, with Rafi Menco contributing nine points and 11 rebounds on his debut for Eilat after joining on a loan deal from Hapoel Jerusalem.

Khalif Wyatt had 25 points for the 5-3 Holon despite going 0-of- 10 from three-point range.

On Tuesday, Ironi Nahariya aims to continue its revival in the FIBA Champions League when it targets a third straight win in the competition against Skyliners Frankfurt at Ein Sara. Nahariya has a 2-4 record in Group A.

Maccabi Rishon Lezion, which is at 2-4 in Group B, welcomes Ukrainian side Khimik on Wednesday.

The four best-ranked teams from each group after 14 rounds of games will advance to the playoffs.


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