Maccabi Tel Aviv 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv may be struggling in the Euroleague, but it proved it remains head and shoulders above its local rivals in the BSL on Sunday night, trouncing Hapoel Jerusalem 103-78 at the Nokia Arena.
Maccabi improved its league record to 10-0 with the emphatic victory and its dominance on the local scene is illustrated best by the fact that it has won its league games by an average of 18.7 points.
Just last Thursday, Maccabi looked almost helpless in its Euroleague loss at Maroussi BC. However, as poor as it has played in continental competition, Tel Aviv has looked untouchable in the BSL so far this season, with Sunday's win further evidence of that.
Guy Pnini was superb for Maccabi against his former team, scoring 23 points and grabbing six rebounds.
"I had a good game," said Pnini, who scored four of seven three-point attempts.
"We played well from the start and after opening a lead in the second period didn't allow them back into the game."
Five more Tel Aviv players topped 10 points, including Chuck Eidson's 17 and a dozen more from Andrew Wisniewski.
Leo Lyons led five Hapoel players in double-digits, scoring 18 points.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and Maccabi Haifa, which were both knocked out of the State Cup during the BSL's month long break, strengthened their positions in the BSL's top four.
Gilboa handed Ironi Ramat Gan its 10th straight defeat, winning 87-77 at Gan Ner for its fourth win in five games. Elishay Kadir had 25 points and seven rebounds for the winners, with Brian Randle adding 25 points and six rebounds.
The sorry Ramat Gan, which fell to 0-10, was led by Brandon Ewing, who scored 20 points.
Haifa extended its BSL winning streak to seven games, thrashing Ironi Ashkelon 86-68 in Romema.
Davon Jefferson had 21 points and eight rebounds for the winners, with Brooks Sales leading Ashkelon with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion continued to distance itself from the relegation playoffs on Sunday, defeating Hapoel Afula 91-76 for its third straight win.
Larry O'Bannon (26 points), Rod Grizzard (23) and Avi Ben-Shimol (20 points and 12 assists) led the hosts, with Justin Dentmon scoring 22 points for the losers.
On Monday, Hapoel Holon hosts Ironi Nahariya.
Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem scored at will at the start of the game, with neither side playing much defense. Jerusalem was the first to open a meaningful lead, with Dijon Thompson's dunk giving the team a 20-15 advantage with just over three minutes to play in the period.
A Doron Perkins three to beat the shot-clock in the final minute tied the game (27-27), but Hapoel had a slight edge after 10 minutes thanks to Yuval Naimi's layup at the end of the quarter.
Maccabi and Hapoel combined to hit 17 of 25 shots from two-point range in the first frame and it was only natural the pace would slow down in the second period.
However, while the visitors only managed 11 points in the second, Tel Aviv maintained its hot hand and opened a comfortable margin by the break.
Maccabi was causing most of the damage from beyond the arc, with Pini Gershon's men nailing seven of 13 three-pointers in the first half. Six of those baskets came in the second quarter, with David Bluthenthal's dagger giving the hosts a 51-36 margin with two minutes remaining.
Jerusalem managed to contain the damage slightly in the closing stages of the first half, but still left itself with a mountain to climb in the second half, trailing 53-40 at halftime.
Hapoel began the third quarter well, and thanks to Sharon Sasson's three pointers, closed to within six points (60-54). However, Maccabi answered with a 14-3 run, capped by an Andrew Wisniewski layup, and the hosts took a 15-point cushion (79-64) into the fourth quarter and cruised to yet another easy league win.