Yellow-and-blue aims to put recent slump in rearview mirror

April 30, 2015 01:01
1 minute read.
maccabi tel aviv

After an erratic season to date, Maccabi Tel Aviv is hoping center Alex Tyus comes up with one of his better performances Thursdy when the yellow-and-blue hosts Galatasaray at Yad Eliyahu Arena. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

A regular season BSL game against the likes of Bnei Herzliya has rarely been as significant for Maccabi Tel Aviv as it will be on Thursday night.

Maccabi enters the showdown with Herzliya at Yad Eliyahu Arena on the back of five consecutive defeats over all competitions, including two straight in the BSL by an average margin of 18.5 points per game.

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The yellow-and-blue dropped to a humbling 89-72 defeat at rock-bottom Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil on Saturday, a defeat which was followed by a stormy team meeting in which coach Guy Goodes called out the players.

The frustration in the roster following the Euroleague quarterfinal exit at the hands of Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul last week, was clear for all to see, with center Sofoklis Schortsanitis losing his cool late in the first half and being ejected after twice elbowing Gilboa’s Marcus Lewis.

The Israel Basketball Association’s disciplinary court will discuss Sofo’s punishment earlier Thursday, with the Greek center expected to be suspended for multiple games.

Maccabi will be playing the first of five BSL games over the next 12 days to cap its regular season schedule before turning its focus to the playoffs.

Maccabi is well placed to go on and claim the No. 1 seed, but has still got some work to do, holding a 23-5 record compared to Hapoel Jerusalem’s 22-7.

Jerusalem has been unstoppable in recent weeks and will be targeting its 13th win from the past 14 games when it hosts Gilboa on Thursday.

Jerusalem is entering the contest on the back of a six-game winning streak by an average margin of 15.5 points per game.

Despite the victory over Maccabi, Gilboa still looks to be heading for relegation to the National League, trailing Maccabi Ashdod by two games with four encounters remaining.

The battle for a top-eight finish and a playoff berth will also continue on Thursday. Only two games currently separate Hapoel Holon in fourth place and Herzliya and Ironi Ness Ziona, which are tied for eighth.

Ness Ziona visits Holon on Thursday, while Ashdod hosts Maccabi Haifa and Ironi Nahariya makes the trek to Hapoel Eilat.

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