Hapoel Jerusalem 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Jerusalem moved within a single win of advancing to the
BSL playoff semifinals on Monday night, while Hapoel Eilat leveled its series
against Maccabi Rishon Lezion with a victory on the road.
Eilat for the No. 2 seed in the final game of the regular season and has carried
the momentum into the playoffs, comfortably beating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 93-81 on
the road on Monday to take a 2-0 lead in the quarterfinals.
struggled for consistency throughout the regular season, but seems to have hit
top form when it matters most, outplaying Barak Netanya for the second time in
six days on Monday, winning 87-68 at Malha Arena for a 2-0
Eilat suffered a surprise 79-77 home loss to Rishon in Game 1
last week, but rebounded in emphatic fashion on Monday, thrashing Rishon 91-73
on the road.
Haifa took a double-digit gap (53-43) into the half in Gan
Ner and remained in complete control after the break to claim an impressive
Donta Smith led five Haifa players in double-figures with 24 points
and nine assists, with Pat Calathes ending the night with 18 points and 10
Jamar Smith scored 24 points for Gilboa, which faces the
prospect of elimination at Romema Arena on Thursday.
seven of the first eight points of the game at Malha and never looked
Hapoel’s gap reached 18 points (50-32) by the interval, rendering
the second half as no more than garbage time.
Samardo Samuels had 22
points for Jerusalem, with Josh Duncan adding 17 points and 11
Hapoel scored just two three-pointers throughout the game, but
still easily defeated Netanya and seems set to face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the
Maccabi can also book a place in the last four on
Thursday when it hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv at Nokia Arena after taking a 2-0 lead on
Ramel Bradley scored 20 points for Netanya, which will hope to
keep its season alive when it hosts Game 3 on Thursday.
There was nothing
to separate the teams in the first five minutes of the showdown in Rishon, but
Eilat soon found its range, particularly from beyond the arc, and led by
double-figures (29-19) after 10 minutes.
Eilat scored just 12 points in
the second period, but Rishon didn’t fare much better, netting only 13. The
southerners effectively clinched the victory by outscoring the hosts 27-18 in
the third frame to open an 18-point margin (68-50) from which Rishon was never
going to come back.
Larry O’Bannon had 22 points for Eilat, which shot
13-of-24 from threepoint range and will be confident of taking the lead in the
series when it hosts Game 3 on Thursday.
Promising 19-year-old Shawn
Dawson led the beleaguered Rishon with 15 points.
“We made a massive
effort and it isn’t easy to win in Rishon,” said Eilat guard Afik Nissim, who
had 16 points.
“Rishon is a good team, but so are we.
We knew we
would triumph on the road, but we still have two more games to win to reach the