(photo credit: )
Maccabi Tel Aviv continued its domination over Hapoel Jerusalem at Nokia Arena, defeating its arch-rival 96-85 on Sunday night.
Both teams continued their poor form of late and the encounter never really reached the level basketball fans have been accustomed to in recent seasons. Maccabi, however, will not mind one bit, as the win means it remains perfect in the BSL (3-0) ahead of its Euroleague game against Cibona Zagreb on Thursday.
Tel Aviv will also be hoping Marcus Fizer, who led the hosts with 28 points in 28 minutes, will be able to build on his first good performance of the season and finally start living up to his star billing.
Former Jerusalem forward Terence Morris scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds for Maccabi, with Omri Caspi and Vonteego Cummings each adding 11 points.
Jamie Arnold scored 26 points and took 11 rebounds for Jerusalem in his first game at Nokia Arena since leaving Tel Aviv over the summer. Timmy Bowers and Sharon Sason added 20 and 12 points, respectively.
Also on Sunday, Ironi Nahariya defeated Hapoel Galil Elyon 99-91 after overtime. Avi Sukar sent the encounter into an extra five minutes after hitting one of two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation. The hosts dominated the overtime and Galil fell to its sixth straight defeat in all competitions.
Ido Kuzikaro led Nahariya with 22 points on 10 of 10 from the field and also grabbed 10 rebounds. Ashante Johnson and Matan Naor each added 17 points. Mike Campbell and Clif Brown led Galil Elyon, scoring 23 and 22 points, respectively.
The surprise result of Sunday was recorded at Ashkelon where the local Ironi beat Bnei Hasharon 81-72.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion lost at home for the third time this season, with Ironi Ramat Gan winning 82-75.
At Nokia Arena, Fizer scored eight of Maccabi's first 10 points and the hosts led 10-5. A 3-pointer by Bowers tied the score (16-16), but Tel Aviv would score 11 of the last 15 points of the first period and was ahead by seven points after 10 minutes (27-20).
Derrick Sharp's 3-pointer to start the second quarter gave Maccabi its first double-digit lead of the game and Hapoel's scrappy play was costing the team dearly. Tel Aviv was also far from its best, but it remained comfortably ahead nevertheless, and took a 47-36 lead into the interval.
Guy Pnini's 3-pointer two minutes into the second half brought Jerusalem within five points (49-44) and the encounter looked to be heading to a tight ending. But Maccabi surged ahead once more, with Cummings's jumper with three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the quarter capping the yellow-and-blue's 12-2 run.
Arnold's basket at the end of the period cut the margin to seven points (64-57), and the American center's three at the beginning of the final quarter brought the visitors within touching distance (66-60). A Jerusalem comeback, however, would not materialize, with the hosts going on an 8-0 run that clinched another league win for the perennial champion.