Maccabi Tel Aviv 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv overcame a valiant effort by Hapoel Tel Aviv to claim a 76-68
victory at Nokia Arena on Thursday night and take a 1-0 lead in the BSL
Maccabi led by as many as 22 points (42-20) in
the second quarter, but Hapoel ended the first half with a 13-0 run to close
within single digits (42-33). The Reds came within a sole possession (59- 56)
midway through the fourth period, largely thanks to Anthony Goods, who scored 15
points in the final frame alone.
However, Maccabi held on for a win to
move into an important lead in the best-of-five series.
scored 23 points for the yellow-and-blue, including 10 in the fourth quarter,
with Devin Smith adding 16 points.
Goods ended the game with 20 points
for Hapoel, which will draw plenty of encouragement from Thursday’s defeat ahead
of Game 2 in its home-court in Rishon Lezion on Sunday.
There was plenty
more drama elsewhere on Thursday, with Maccabi Haifa (2) requiring a Pat
Calathes buzzer-beater to edge Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (7) 87-85, while Maccabi
Rishon Lezion (6) stunned Hapoel Eilat (3) on the road with a 79-77
A 16-2 second-quarter run put Haifa in the driving seat (37-23) and
the hosts still seemed to be in complete control when they took a 68-57 margin
into the final frame.
However, Gilboa constantly ate away at the gap and
Jamar Smith’s three-pointer with eight seconds to play in Romema tied the game
at 85-85, only for Calathes to hit a long jumper from the corner to give the
Greens a 1-0 lead.
Donta Smith led Haifa with 20 points, while Paul Stoll
scored 16 and Calathes added 15 points.
Jamar Smith ended the night with
24 points for Gilboa, which will be confident of leveling the series when it
hosts Game 2 on Monday after giving Haifa a real run for its money.
entered Game 1 against Rishon as a clear favorite, going 11-3 at home in the
regular season, while Rishon had lost six straight games before beating Hapoel
Jerusalem in a meaningless encounter earlier this week.
led throughout the series opener and staved off an Eilat comeback to steal
home-court advantage from the southerners.
A Scotty Hopson three with
nine seconds remaining brought Eilat back on level terms (77-77), but Adrian
Uter’s free throws with five seconds left gave Rishon a deserved
Uter led Rishon with 21 points and 13 rebounds, with Israeli
youngster Or Solomon continuing his recent excellent form with 15
Hopson had 34 points for Eilat, which will feel that it has to
emerge victorious at Rishon on Monday to keep alive its hopes of reaching the