Plenty at stake for Mac TA and J’lem in first BSL showdown

Hapoel has lost its last three games over all competitions in humbling fashion, being thrashed by Hapoel Holon (99- 76) and Ulm (103-77).

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November 20, 2016 00:08
2 minute read.
Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu (left) and Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Joe Alexander

Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu (left) and Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Joe Alexander. (photo credit: ERAN LUF)

Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem enter their first meeting of the BSL season desperate for a win, but for very different reasons.

Maccabi improved to 4-4 in the Euroleague with its second win in three days on Thursday, beating Unics Kazan 74-73 in Russia. The yellow-and-blue lost its previous BSL game last Saturday, suffering its first local league defeat to fall to 5-1 following an 84-82 setback at Bnei Herzliya. However, thanks to two consecutive wins in the Euroleague it will be brimming with confidence at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Sunday, something which can’t be said about Jerusalem.

After winning three of its first four BSL games and going 3-0 to start the Eurocup regular season, Jerusalem has lost its way over the past couple of weeks.

Hapoel has lost its last three games over all competitions in humbling fashion, being thrashed by Hapoel Holon (99- 76) and Ulm (103-77) before falling at Maccabi Ashdod (70- 57) last Sunday to drop to 3-3 in the BSL.

Jerusalem outplayed Maccabi to claim the pre-season Winner Cup at the start of October, but that seems like a long time ago now, with coach Simone Pianigiani hoping the team’s first full-week of training in over a month will bare fruit on Sunday.

“It was a terrible week for us,” he said. “We did a great job beforehand, but the players are losing their confidence and are nervous. At least we finally had a week to practice. We need to stop this run and keep calm because it is just one week.”

Jerusalem bolstered its roster over the weekend with the signing of Dijon Thompson, but he won’t play on Sunday .

On Saturday, Shawn Dawson led Maccabi Rishon Lezion to an 84-69 win over Hapoel Holon. Dawson, who had struggled to settle since returning to Israel after failing to land a deal in the NBA, finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, with Rishon essentially securing the win and improving to 4-3 with a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter (74-56). Shlomi Harush had 14 points for Holon, which fell to 5-2.

Also Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv beat Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 87-85. Richard Howell and Alando Tucker each scored 16 points for the winners, with Murphy Holloway netting 22 points for the visitors.

Elsewhere Sunday, Herzliya hosts Maccabi Kiryat Gat and Ironi Nahariya makes the long trip to visit Hapoel Eilat. Maccabi Haifa welcomes Ashdod on Monday.


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