Mac TA's Shawn James, Lior Eliyahu, Guy Pnini, Devin Smith .
(photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv website)
Hapoel Jerusalem lost important ground in the battle for the
No. 2 seed in the BSL playoffs on Monday, dropping to a 91-83 defeat to Maccabi
Rishon Lezion at Malha Arena.
After Hapoel Eilat and Maccabi Haifa both
won on Sunday, Jerusalem was also hoping to improve to 12-7 and keep the
three-horse race for second place at the end of the regular season as tight as
However, Rishon would seize control of Monday’s encounter with
a 12-2 run in the third quarter (61-56), taking a fivepoint lead (66-61) into
the final frame and comfortably holding on to improve to 10-9.
Wright had 23 points and 13 rebounds for Rishon, with Willie Warren adding 20
points and Lazeric Jones scoring 16.
Courtney Fells had 25 points for
Jerusalem, which still has to visit both Haifa and Eilat in two of its three
remaining regular season games.
A day after losing to Hapoel Tel Aviv in
the derby for the first time in nine years, Maccabi Tel Aviv players visited the
Air Force base in Palmachim on Monday to take part in an exhibition game against
high ranking officers.
Hapoel snapped Maccabi’s 15-game BSL winning
streak with a 69-65 triumph, but Guy Pnini was confident the defeat would not
affect the team’s preparations for Thursday’s crucial Euroleague game at
“We are back in the hunt for a place in the
quarterfinals and we can’t slip up in Turkey,” Pnini said. “Even though it takes
time to recover from a defeat in the derby, we must get back to winning ways.”