Hapoel Tel Aviv 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
After giving Maccabi Tel Aviv a mighty scare at Nokia Arena in Game 1, Hapoel
Tel Aviv will be aiming to level up the quarterfinal playoff series when it
hosts Game 2 in Rishon Lezion on Sunday night.
The budget of perennial
champion Maccabi dwarfs that of the fan-owned Hapoel, which only returned to the
BSL this season after six years in the lower divisions.
However, the Reds
managed to claim a first derby win in nine years in the regular season and
fought back from 22 points down to force a tight finish in the playoff series
opener on Thursday.
Hapoel closed to within a single possession midway
through the final frame after trailing 42-20 in the second quarter, only for
Maccabi to eke out the win and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five
“A few big plays by Maccabi won them the game,” said Hapoel
captain Matan Naor. “I’m disappointed because we didn’t play our best basketball
and we still managed to mount a comeback.
From my experience, there is
little connection between each game in the series and we need to take one game
at a time.”
Maccabi guard Yogev Ohayon is hoping the yellow-and-blue can
quickly forget about the second half of Game 1 and repeat its performance from
the first 15 minutes on Thursday.
“We need to play aggressively the way
we did in the first quarter,” said Ohayon. “We did a good job defensively, but
we need to score more easy baskets.”
Game 2 of the three remaining
series’ will take place on Monday.
After snatching home-court advantage
with an 87-80 victory at Barak Netanya, Hapoel Jerusalem will look to move into
a 2-0 lead at Malha Arena.
Hapoel Eilat was stunned at home by Maccabi
Rishon Lezion on Thursday and will be desperate to get back on level terms with
a road win on Monday, while Maccabi Haifa takes a 1-0 lead into Game 2 at Hapoel
“If we don’t win Game 2 at home our victory in Eilat will
be worthless,” said Rishon guard Amit Ben-David. “We came back from 0-2 down to
win 3-2 last season so we know anything is possible.”On TV:
Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (live at 7:30pm on Sport5)