Maccabi Tel Aviv's DEVIN SMITH, January 6, 2013 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv was forced to dig deep to claim a confidence-boosting 79-71 BSL
win against Hapoel Jerusalem at Malha Arena on Sunday night.
led for much of the game, but a 13-3 Tel Aviv run to end the encounter gave the
yellow-and-blue its ninth straight league win to improve to 11-1 on the
“It wasn’t easy to come back from the cruel defeat to Caja on
Thursday,” said delighted Maccabi coach David Blatt after seeing his team
rebound from the dramatic 71-70 Euroleague loss to Vitoria ahead of this week’s
crucial continental showdown against Fenerbahce Ulker.
“It is never easy
to come to Jerusalem and we showed a lot of maturity tonight. Only a team with
real character can do what we did in the fourth quarter.”
held a nine-point lead late in the third quarter, dropped back to .500, falling
to 6-6, but coach Sharon Drucker was still pleased with his side’s fighting
“We lost the game in the third period,” said Drucker, with
Maccabi’s David Logan scoring three consecutive three-pointers to cut Hapoel’s
lead to a single point (60-59) ahead of the final frame.
what to do in the crucial moments. It is a shame we didn’t win the game, but I
don’t have a single bad word to say about my players.”
Logan led Maccabi
with 13 points, while Devin Smith added 12 points and 10 rebounds, with Lior
Eliyahu also scoring 12.
Craig Smith had 19 points for Jerusalem, with
Josh Duncan contributing 17 points.
Roni Bosani’s debut as Maccabi Rishon
Lezion coach went according to plan on Sunday, with Rishon beating Hapoel
A Nitzan Hanochi threepointer capped a 13-2 Rishon
run to start the game and the hosts never lost control.
Julian Wright had
15 points and nine boards for the winners, who had lost six of eight games under
previous coach Effi Birenboim. Rakim Sanders scored 15 for Gilboa, which dropped
to 3-9 with its third defeat in four games.
“Gilboa never gave up, but
momentum was on our side in the closing stages,” said Bosani. “We did an
excellent job defensively, but we have plenty else to improve.”
Tel Aviv’s struggles continued on Sunday, with the Reds suffering their fifth
defeat in six contests, losing 94-88 at Bnei Herzliya.
Hapoel 30-20 in the first period and remained in the lead until the final
Romel Beck led Herzliya with 30 points, with Curtis Kelly scoring
30 for Tel Aviv.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Eilat snapped its first losing
streak of the season at two defeats, beating Ironi Ashkelon 103- 85 on the
Ashkelon had won five of its previous six games, but a 22-4 Eilat
run in the second quarter effectively decided the contest.
Eli Holman had
27 points and 11 boards for Eilat, with Scotty Hopson scoring 20 and Afik Nissim
and Jerome Tillman adding 19 points each.
Marcus Dove led Ashkelon with
28 points and nine rebounds.
On Monday, Hapoel Holon hosts Maccabi Haifa
and Barak Netanya goes to Maccabi Ashdod.