Hapoel Tel Aviv guard Nate Robinson had 25 points in his debut’s last night, a 103-94 win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion at the Drive-In Arena..
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
Nate Robinson lived up to expectations in his debut for Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday night, with the three-time NBA dunk champion scoring 25 points in a 103-94 win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion at the Drive-In Arena.
Rishon began the game by hitting its first 13 shots, including seven three-pointers, to open a 35-19 lead after 10 minutes. However, led by the sensational Robinson, Hapoel stormed back in the second period and clinched the win in the final quarter to improve to 10-14 and boost its hopes of reaching the BSL playoffs.
John Williamson added 22 points for Hapoel, with Raviv Limonad scoring 21.
Mark Lyons had 23 points for Rishon, which fell to 12-12.
Hapoel Jerusalem aims to complete a regular-season sweep of Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday night and open a two-game lead in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the BSL playoffs.
After claiming an 89-82 win in Tel Aviv last October and a 94-85 victory in Jerusalem in January, Hapoel can move to 3-0 over the yellow-and-blue and gain a psychological edge ahead of a possible meeting in the Final Four.
Following best-of-five quarterfinals, the league championship will be decided in a Final Four, with the team that ends the regular season in first place to host the season-ending tournament.
Hapoel can take a significant step towards bringing the Final Four to the Jerusalem Arena by improving to an 18-6 record on Monday with a win in a showdown between the two powerhouses of Israeli hoops which have suffered from inconsistency this season.
Jerusalem enters the game on the back of two victories by an average margin of 25.5 points per game, but lost three of its previous five league contests.
“We are at a different place than we were two weeks ago so to be a favorite or underdog in March doesn’t mean anything,” said Jerusalem coach Danny Franco. Maccabi beat Ironi Ness Ziona 83-59 last week after suffering a humbling 84-68 loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the derby.
Forward Richard Hendrix will make his first appearance for Maccabi this season on Monday, returning to the team at which he played between 2010 and 2012. The yellowand- blue is still without the injured Devin Smith and Trevor Mbakwe.
Elsewhere Monday, Hapoel Eilat hosts Ironi Nahariya and Maccabi Kiryat Gat goes to Maccabi Ashdod.