Rice cut by Holon after punching Pnini

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April 11, 2018 01:34
2 minute read.
Hapoel Holon forward Glen Rice Jr.

Hapoel Holon forward Glen Rice Jr. scored a team-high 18 points in last night’s 91-77 win over Bnei Herzliya, while also punting the ball into the stands in a moment of madness in the second quarter.. (photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)

 
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Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to winning ways in BSL action to move back tied with Hapoel Holon at the summit of the standings on Tuesday night. There is little doubt, however, that the unceremonious departure of Holon star Glen Rice Jr. the previous night is set to be of far greater significance in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and to the outcome of the season-ending Final Four tournament.

Maccabi had lost 10 of its previous 13 games over all competitions, including three defeats from its past five local league contests. A 20-0 Haifa run in the third quarter saw the visitors take a double-digit gap (57-45). But Tel Aviv would respond with a 14-0 surge to regain the lead (61-59) and pulled ahead in the final minutes to claim an 80-71 win.

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Deshaun Thomas led five Maccabi players in double figures with 13 points, with Angel Rodriguez scoring 19 points for Haifa, which fell to a league-worse record of 7-16, tied with Ironi Nahariya.

Tel Aviv improved to 17-6, tied with leader Holon after Dan Shamir’s side suffered a 94-89 home loss to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Monday.

While Holon has plenty of time to make amends for the outcome of the game, the incident that ensued the defeat and the subsequent release of Rice seem likely to be extremely costly to Holon’s prospects for the remainder of the campaign.

It all began with 7:51 minutes to play in the third quarter, with Rice and Israeli forward Guy Pnini exchanging some heated words mid-court.

Pnini complained to Rice that he didn’t pass him the ball and the BSL’s leading scorer reacted in a furious manner and threatened Pnini.



It seemed that matters had cooled down when the two continued to play together and Rice looked relaxed at the final buzzer.

But after the players returned to the locker room, he approached the Israeli and slapped him, and after Pnini told him to never touch him again, he punched him in the face, sending the forward to the hospital for stitches.

The stunned Pnini responded by smashing Rice’s phone.

Rice was questioned by police on Tuesday, but was soon released home, with Pnini and Holon both choosing against filing a complaint.

“We knew what we were getting into when we signed Rice, but we didn’t expect this,” said Holon chairman Eitan Lantziano, with Rice clashing with the law in the US on several occasions, including involvement in a couple of shooting incidents as well as battery convictions. “His contribution on the court will be remembered for many years to come, but he showed his other side last night. He brought us a State Cup, but he is history now.”

Rice leads the league with 24.3 points per game and is fifth in both rebounds (8.2 rpg) and assists (4.9 apg). He scored a spectacular basket with 1.6 seconds to play in the cup final to secure an 86-84 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

However, his lack of composure and maturity was clear for all to see from the start. The son of three-time NBA All-Star Glen Rice Sr. was also involved in a physical confrontation with the Holon physiotherapist several weeks ago, but the club decided to overlook the incident, something it couldn’t and wouldn’t do following his assault of Pnini.

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