omri casspi 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Even without Omri Casspi in its lineup, Israel completed a perfect week of
warm-up games on Wednesday night, beating Belgium 69-64 at Hadar Yosef Arena for
its third win in as many days.
Israel visits Italy next Monday in its
EuroBasket qualifying opener and will be doing so on a high after claiming three
Casspi was Israel’s best player in its two previous
preparation games. The Sacramento Kings forward scored 17 points in the
blue-and-white’s 96-82 victory over the Netherlands on Monday and led the
national team once more 24 hours later, scoring 27 points in the 86-82 win over
Israel’s first and only NBA player, who only joined the
national team in training last Thursday after participating in NBA summer
workouts in Las Vegas, rested on Wednesday after an intense week full of
His presence was missed in the first half as Israel trailed
throughout. But the blue-and-white eventually clinched the win thanks to some
excellent defensive play after halftime.
The Belgians took a 44- 32 lead
into the interval, but Israel allowed the visitors only 20 points after that and
held on for the win.
“Physically we are okay, but we still have some
problems in defense and offense,” said coach Arik Shivek when asked how Israel’s
preparations are going.
Lior Eliyahu and Yotam Halperin led the team with
15 points each on Wednesday, with Elishay Kadir scoring 13.
important to us to win this warm-up tournament,” Halperin said.
are entering the money-time and we begin with what is on paper the toughest
We have a talented team, but talent doesn’t win games. You
need to know how to fight as well.”