Jerusalem looks to bounce back from Euro woes in Gilboa

Danny Franco’s men improved to 3-0 last week with a tight 81-80 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem coach Danny Franco  (photo credit: ODED KARNI)
Jerusalem coach Danny Franco
(photo credit: ODED KARNI)
While its Eurocup campaign has so far faltered, Hapoel Jerusalem is off to its best BSL start in 10 years.
That isn’t all that impressive when one considers the fact that up until this month Jerusalem hadn’t won its first two local league games of the season since the 2004/05 campaign.
However, Danny Franco’s men improved to 3-0 last week with a tight 81-80 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv and will be aiming to move within a win of equaling their 5-0 start in 2004/05 when they visit Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Sunday night.
Jerusalem, whose best ever start to a BSL campaign was 7-0 in the 1998/99 season, hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in its following game next Sunday.
First things first, however, with Gilboa brimming with confidence after getting the season off to an encouraging start. Gilboa was outplayed in an 89-70 defeat to Hapoel Holon in its opener, but has since shown it will be a tough team to beat, grinding out wins against Hapoel Eilat and Ironi Nahariya to move to 2-1.
Jerusalem is coming off a frustrating 79-78 loss to Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd of Russia at the Jerusalem Arena, which saw it fall to 0-2 in Eurocup regular season Group E.
Hapoel hosts Partizan Belgrade in a crucial continental contest on Wednesday, but will first want to make sure it enters next week’s showdown with Maccabi Tel Aviv with a perfect BSL record.
After almost two weeks of playing exhibition games against NBA teams, Maccabi Haifa (1-1) returns to local action on Sunday when it hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv (1-2).
Haifa lost all four of its games against the Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors, but at least came close to winning its final encounter, leading by five points midway through the fourth quarter before falling 92-85 in Canada.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Ashdod hosts Hapoel Holon. On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv welcomes Ironi Nahariya, Ironi Ness Ziona visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion and Bnei Herzliya faces Hapoel Eilat.