Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Jerusalem .
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
All eight playoff berths have been snapped up and the relegation battle has already been decided, but there is still plenty on the line entering the BSL regular season’s final day of action on Sunday.
Maccabi Tel Aviv secured the No. 1 seed in the playoffs with Friday’s 98-72 win over Ironi Nahariya, meaning Hapoel Jerusalem will end the regular season in second place in the standings.
However, there are still 16 different scenarios in the fight for post-season seeding, with Maccabi Haifa, for example, entering Sunday with the possibility of finishing anywhere between third and eighth place.
Five teams can still finish in third or fourth places, which will guarantee home-court advantage in the best-of-five quarterfinals.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion and Hapoel Holon, who currently occupy those positions with a 17-15 record, have their fate in their own hands ahead of their respective meetings with Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and Maccabi Haifa.
However, defeats for Rishon and Holon will open the door for Haifa (16-16) and Hapoel Eilat (16-16), with Hapoel Tel Aviv (16-16) requiring a Holon win combined with a Rishon loss to have any chance of sneaking into the top four.
Hapoel will first have to beat Bnei Herzliya, which lost all hope of reaching the playoffs on Thursday.
Ironi Ness Ziona (15-17) already knows it will face either Maccabi Tel Aviv or Hapoel Jerusalem in the quarters as it can finish no higher than seventh and no lower than eighth.
Ness Ziona welcomes Eilat on Sunday.
Head-to-head records will be used as the first tiebreaker should two teams or more finish with the same overall record.
In two meaningless encounters on Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem face Maccabi Ashdod and Ironi Nahariya, respectively, with all four teams already knowing their final positions entering their regular season finale. Ashdod (11-21) is guaranteed to finish in 11th, with Nahariya (12- 20) to end its campaign in 10th.
On Friday, Maccabi easily brushed aside Nahariya for its second straight win in local league action, something which hadn’t happened since March.
Nahariya scored the first seven points of the afternoon, but Maccabi quickly bounced back and was never in any danger after opening a 34-21 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Sylven Landesberg and Devin Smith had 27 and 25 points, respectively, for Maccabi, with Kenny Lawson finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Nahariya.
Plenty to play for as BSL regular season comes to a close • By Allon Sinai Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Devin Smith finished with 25 points in his team’s 98-72 win over Ironi Nahariya on Friday at Yad Eliyahu Arena. (