JULIAN WRIGHT 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv suffered its first defeat to an Israeli team in 10 months on
Sunday night, dropping to a humbling 81-64 loss to Maccabi Rishon Lezion in BSL
action at Nokia Arena.
The yellow-and-blue had won 22 straight games in
league and State Cup play since falling 78-74 to Maccabi Ashdod on January
However, it found itself in an early hole against Rishon and never
recovered against Effi Birenboim’s impressive side, which improved to
Despite playing without injured point guard Lazeric Jones, Rishon
hit the ground running, opening a double- digit gap by the end of the first
quarter (24-14) and taking a 43-25 lead into the break.
inevitable that Tel Aviv would come back with a vengeance in the second half,
but the gap never dropped below 11 points and the hosts lost for the first time
in all competitions this season after beginning the Euroleague 3-0.
prepared well for this game and won despite losing Jones to injury yesterday,”
“This is only the beginning of the road, but this is a
very significant win for us, although we must remember that it is just a single
Adrian Uter and Julian Wright had 22 points and nine rebounds each
for Rishon, which also got 14 points from Willie Warren.
standing in for Jones, contributed nine points, nine rebounds and seven
Shawn James led Maccabi with 19 points, with Yogev Ohayon the
team’s only other player in double-figures, scoring 12 points.
deserve every credit,” said Tel Aviv coach David Blatt, whose team hosts Prokom
Gdynia in Euroleague action on Thursday.
“You have these days once every
so often. We have no excuse or explanation.
“We just didn’t come to play
from the start and Rishon made the most of it. It doesn’t happen to us much, but
occasionally it does.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv recorded its second straight
victory on Sunday night, defeating Ironi Ashkelon 78-70 thanks to the
outstanding play of its Israeli players.
Hapoel claimed last week its
first BSL win since returning to the top flight after six years and it made it
two in a row on Sunday with a 21-2 fourth-quarter run inspired by its local
Ashkelon took a 61-54 margin into the fourth quarter and led by
nine point (65-56) early in the frame.
However, Hapoel roared back, with
Jonathan Skjoldebrand, Bar Timor and Matan Naor doing the heavy lifting on both
ends of the floor to clinch the win.
Skjoldebrand had 19 points and eight
rebounds, with Jeff Allen also scoring 19 and Naor netting 15.
for Ashkelon’s traps and we knew they would be tough to beat,” said Hapoel coach
“But I’m pleased that we came through on defense when it
Marcus Moore had 20 points for Ashkelon, which fell to
Maccabi Haifa dropped to its first defeat of the season on Sunday,
losing 80-62 at Hapoel Eilat.
Eilat outscored Haifa 48-25 in the second
and third quarters, rendering the final period all but
Scotty Hopson had 19 points for Eilat, with Austin Freeman
adding 16 points.
Donta Smith scored 15 for Haifa.
Gilboa/Galil remained winless on Sunday, falling to a 92-88 home loss to Hapoel
Gilboa held the lead for much of the game, but Holon came up with
the goods when it mattered most to get the win.
Jerome Dyson led Holon
with 27 points, with Frank Hassell contributing 22 points and 11 boards. Rakim
Sanders had 25 points for the struggling Gilboa.
On Monday, Hapoel
Jerusalem, which has opened the season 0-2 for the first time since 1997, visits
the 2-0 Barak Netanya, while Maccabi Ashdod hosts Bnei Herzliya.