MACCABI TEL AVIV’S Guy Pnini 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv left little doubt regarding the fact that it is still heads and
shoulders above the rest of the BSL on Tuesday night, thrashing Hapoel Jerusalem
102-82 at Malha Arena to advance to the preseason Chance Cup final.
second straight night, Maccabi all but clinched its win within the first five
minutes of the game, with Tuesday’s victory coming against the team which is
expected to be its main rival for the league title, although Jerusalem was
without injured star Brian Randle.
Maccabi surged into a 12-2 lead in
two-and-a-half minutes and it took Hapoel more than three minutes to score its
first field goal.
Shawn James’s basket extended Tel Aviv’s margin to 15-
points (20-5) after a mere five minutes and the yellow-andblue held a 36-19 gap
following the first period.
Hapoel never came close to mounting a
comeback, leaving Jerusalem coach Oded Katash and the rest of the BSL to wonder
if they have anything to offer against Maccabi.
Devin Smith led Tel Aviv
with 17 points, with Lior Eliyahu and Guy Pnini adding 14 points
D.J. Strawberry had 28 points for Jerusalem.
Tel Aviv will
face Hapoel Holon in the Chance Cup final on Thursday, after Holon beat Maccabi
Rishon Lezion 84-81 in overtime.
Ron Lewis had 24 points for Holon, which
ended the extra period with a 12-3 run.
Brandon Bowman led five Rishon
players in double-figures with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Tuesday, Jerusalem discovered the three opponents it will face in the Eurocup
Hapoel was drawn in Barcelona into Group A together with
Cibona Zagreb of Croatia, Ukrainians BC Donetsk and BCM Gravelines of
The six-game regular season will begin on November 15 and finish
on December 20, with the best two from each group advancing. Games resume on
January 17, with the opening of the Last 16 round, which consists of six more
games for each team.
The best two teams from each group progress, this
time to the two-legged quarterfinals, with the four series winners to play in
the knockout Eurocup Finals on April 14 and 15.
“We can’t wait for the
games to start,” said Katash, who couldn’t guide Hapoel past the Eurocup regular
season last year.
“All the teams in this competition are strong and we
will do our utmost to prepare for them.”