In-form Haifa faces test at Hapoel Jerusalem

With 4 straight wins to its name, Maccabi Haifa will be looking to make a real statement when it visits Hapoel Jerusalem.

December 9, 2012 02:48
1 minute read.
Maccabi Haifa big man Ido Kozikaro (center) battle

Maccabi haifa ido kozikaro 311. (photo credit: BSL)

With four straight wins to its name, Maccabi Haifa will be looking to make a real statement when it visits Hapoel Jerusalem at Malha Arena in BSL action on Sunday night.

After two torrid seasons, Haifa looks to be one of the league’s best teams once more, winning six of its first eight games.

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New American coach Brad Greenberg has built a cohesive unit in rapid time, with Donta Smith (15.9 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, 5.1 rebounds per game), Paul Stoll (15.5 PPG, 3.6 APG, 3.5 RPG) and Pat Calathes (12.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG) the undoubted stars of the team.

Veteran Israeli big man Ido Kozikaro (10.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG) is playing some of the best basketball of his career with his 35th birthday around the corner and the addition of talented Israeli playmaker Gal Mekel two weeks ago showed Haifa has no intention of settling for its promising start to the season.

“Hapoel Jerusalem is a very good team and it is currently playing its best basketball of the season,” said Greenberg, who will have to manage without Smith and James Thomas in Sunday’s showdown. “They have talent, depth and are well coached. We are arriving at the game without two of our starters, but I have a very good feeling about our team. We had an excellent week of training and I’m looking forward to seeing how we play on Sunday.”

Jerusalem remained in contention for a place in the Eurocup Last 16 on Wednesday, beating BC Prienai of Lithuania 92-79 thanks to one of its better performances of the season.

Sharon Drucker’s team also won for the fourth time in five BSL games last week, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 86-81 on the road to improve to 4-4.

Hapoel Eilat, which is tied with Haifa in second position with a 6-2 record, goes for its sixth win in seven contests when it hosts Maccabi Ashdod on Sunday.

Elsewhere Sunday, Ironi Ashkelon hosts Rishon Lezion and Hapoel Holon visits Hapoel Tel Aviv.

On Monday, Barak Netanya welcomes Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil visits Bnei Herzliya.

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