Maccabi TA 224.88.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed a much-needed confidence boosting victory on Sunday, thrashing Hapoel Galil Elyon/Gilboa 89-70 in its BSL opener at the Nokia Arena.
After its struggles in the preseason and the disappointing defeat to Cibona Zagreb in the Euroleague on Thursday, Maccabi was desperate to finally record a victory on Sunday, especially as Galil was the team which knocked it out of the Winner Cup a couple of weeks ago.
After Galil's performance on Sunday it's difficult to understand how Tel Aviv managed to lose to the northerners in the preseason, with Oded Katash's side finding itself out of its depth at Nokia and Maccabi cruising to what it hopes will be a momentum shifting win.
"When the team has confidence everything looks different," Maccabi coach Effi Birenboim said. "This is a very important win and I even enjoyed myself."
Omri Casspi led Maccabi, scoring 18 points, with Lior Eliyahu adding 15 points and eight rebounds. Carlos Arroyo scored 14 points, grabbed nine boards and dished five assists in his BSL debut, but despite his impressive stats was once again far from his best.
Brian Randle led four Galil players in double-figures, scoring 15 points.
Also Sunday, newly promoted Maccabi Haifa began its BSL campaign in impressive fashion, defeating Ironi Ramat Gan 89-72 on the road. Haifa dominated the final three periods of the encounter and at least for the moment is living up to its preseason hype.
BJ McKie scored 18 points for Haifa, with Doron Perkins adding 16 points and passing eight assists and Ido Kozikaro contributing 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Josh Gomez led the losers with 27 points in 26 minutes.
Ironi Kiryat Ata stunned Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Sunday, winning 93-91 in Nesher thanks to Erez Kohansky's basket in the final seconds of the game.
Draelon Barnes scored 26 points for the winners, with Gili Mosinzon leading Rishon with the exact same amount.
Ironi Nahariya recorded a harder than expected 96-90 victory over Maccabi Givat Shmuel at Or Yehuda on Sunday.
Greg Brunner and Raviv Limonad scored 21 and 20 points respectively for Nahariya, with Ronald Ross scoring 33 points for Givat Shmuel.
On Monday, Bnei Hasharon hosts Hapoel Holon in the final game of Week 1.
In Tel Aviv, Maccabi scored the first four points of the night, but a 7-0 Galil run, capped by an Elishay Kadir basket, showed Galil had no intention of rolling over without a fight.
By scoring nine of the final 10 points of the first quarter, Maccabi opened a 24-16 lead after 10 minutes, but the visitors were soon back within one possession.
A Nir Cohen three-pointer cut the deficit to three points (24-21), taking advantage of Maccabi's vulnerability at perimeter defending.
The hosts, however, answered back immediately and thanks to Lior Eliyahu's dunk extended the gap to double figures (35-25) for the first time in the encounter.
The half ended with Maccabi in front 42-34 and the hosts would clinch the win with a run at the start of the third quarter.
Birenboim's team started the second half with a 13-2 run, capped by an Arroyo triple, and Tel Aviv opened a 19-point margin (55-36) it was never in any danger of relinquishing.
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