Hap J’lem looks to keep rolling versus Netanya

Jerusalem has been on fire in recent weeks, averaging an impressive 86.0 points per game in its victories this season.

December 8, 2013 01:46
2 minute read.


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With six wins from its past seven BSL games, including a memorable triumph over Maccabi Tel Aviv last week, Hapoel Jerusalem hosts Barak Netanya at Malha Arena on Sunday night aiming to take sole possession of first place in the standings.

Jerusalem has been on fire in recent weeks, averaging an impressive 86.0 points per game in its victories this season.

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Hapoel beat Maccabi last week even though it only received six points from new signing Lior Eliyahu. Despite the frustrating showing in his first meeting against his former team, the forward has quickly settled at Malha, especially considering the fact he joined Hapoel a month into the season.

Eliyahu scored 18 points in Jerusalem’s 85-73 defeat at Khimki Moscow in Eurocup action on Wednesday and Hapoel is only set to get better as the season progresses and the forward grows more accustomed to his new surroundings.

One of the people who worked behind the scenes to convince Eliyahu to sign a three-year deal at Jerusalem was good friend and Israel teammate, Yotam Halperin.

The 29-year-old guard also joined Jerusalem on a threeyear deal during the summer after years of being on the verge of making a return to Maccabi.

Halperin is blossoming at Hapoel, averaging 12.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in the BSL and 14.0 points and 3.1 assists in the Eurocup.

He enters Sunday’s game after scoring 19 points in each of his side’s past two contests.

Eliyahu’s addition almost completely wiped out Elishay Kadir’s role at Hapoel and the Israel international joined Hapoel Eilat for the remainder of the season on Thursday, teaming up once more with coach Oded Katash. Kadir worked under Katash at both Jerusalem and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, where he was named as the league MVP after helping the northerners to the championship in the 2009/10 season.

Jerusalem currently holds a league-best 6-3 record, tied with Ironi Ness Ziona and Maccabi Haifa, which visits Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Haifa will be playing its fifth game in 12 days, with coach Danny Franco claiming that his players are completely worn out after Wednesday’s 74-72 win over VEF Riga which secured the team’s place in the Eurocup Last 32 with two regular season games to play.

While the Greens have continued to triumph in continental play despite their hectic schedule, Haifa’s league form has suffered in recent weeks, with the team losing two of its past three BSL contests.

Hapoel has amassed a 4-4 record so far, but has yet to win consecutive games this season, something it will be aiming to achieve on Sunday.

On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be confident of rebounding from last week’s loss at Malha when it hosts Maccabi Rishon Lezion, while Ironi Ness Ziona welcomes Bnei Herzliya, Hapoel Eilat visits Hapoel Holon and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil faces Maccabi Ashdod.

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