After victory in Ljubljana, Maccabi aims for more in Haifa

“This was one of the greatest wins Maccabi has ever recorded on the road,” coach David Blatt said.

By
February 20, 2011 03:24
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Richard Hendrix.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

 
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Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Maccabi Haifa in the BSL on Sunday night, but regardless of what its coaches or players are saying, everyone on the team has only got one game on their mind, Thursday’s Euroleague showdown with Barcelona.

Maccabi secured its place in the quarterfinals of the Euroleague with an impressive 83-62 victory at Olimpija Ljubljana on Thursday, coming back from a seven-point (40- 33) halftime deficit to dominate the second half.

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The yellow-and-blue hosts Barca on Thursday, needing an 11-point win to climb to the top of Group F ahead of the final game of the Top 16.

“This was one of the greatest wins Maccabi has ever recorded on the road,” coach David Blatt said.

“In the first half we didn’t play our game, but our good defense in the second half allowed us to hit them on the fastbreak. I am satisfied with the response of my players after all the problems they had in the first half.”

Lior Eliyahu, Jeremy Pargo and Doron Perkins scored 16 points each for Maccabi, which has won its last seven games in all competitions by an average of 33.6 points.

“We played a great second half, huge really,” Eliyahu said. “I don’t know if there is a team that has played in Ljubljana as well as we did.



In the second half we matched up really well. Our defense totally stopped their game.

“They didn’t know what to do and we ran the way we like to. I’m excited and happy that now we secured a place in the playoffs.

“We’re now looking ahead to our next challenge in the Euroleague, which is of course Barcelona. At home we know we can beat anyone and today we proved that we are tough to beat on the road as well.”

Haifa is bottom of the standings after winning just two of its past 14 games, but did at least manage to lose by single-digits (101-92) when it met Tel Aviv at Nokia Arena earlier this season.

Apart from its one and only loss to Bnei Hasharon and the win over Haifa, Tel Aviv has defeated all of its BSL opponents by double-figures.

Despite its financial difficulties, Hapoel Holon claimed its third straight victory on Saturday night, beating the in-form Maccabi Rishon Lezion 88-81 in overtime.

Kasib Powell had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Holon, with Rich Melzer adding 23 points and 13 rebounds and Moran Rot contributing 14 points and eight assists.

Aaron McGhee had 26 points and 15 rebounds for Rishon, which has won four consecutive games.

On Sunday, Hapoel Jerusalem will be looking to rebound from its shock defeat to Holon last week when it visits Barak Netanya and Bnei Hasharon hosts Ironi Ashkelon.

Maccabi Ashdod welcomes Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Monday.

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