Maccabi Tel Aviv ready for Barca after thrashing Nahariya

Yellow-and-blue easily puts away Northerners for 9th consecutive league win; Ness Ziona tied with Jerusalem.

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Brian Randle in action (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Brian Randle in action
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv prepared for Thursday’s mouthwatering Euroleague showdown with Barcelona with a stroll in Nahariya on Monday night, beating the local Ironi 103-76 to improve to 13-2 in the BSL with a ninth straight win.
Maccabi left center Sofoklis Schortsanitis completely off the roster ahead of Thursday, while the rest of the starters also had plenty of rest in the blowout.
Nahariya (5-10) entered the game on the back of three consecutive victories and was still within four points (35-31) of Maccabi midway through the second quarter.
However, the yellow-andblue would score 17 of the first half’s final 21 points (52-35) and cruised after the break.
“Every game is tough unless you are focused,” said coach Guy Goodes. “Barcelona is a great team and we will have to find a way to stop them,” he added. “It is going to be one hell of a game.”
New signing Joe Alexander was finally given a chance to prove his worth for Maccabi and led six players in double figures, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Mark Lyons had 22 points for Nahariya.
Ironi Ness Ziona moved tied with Hapoel Jerusalem in second place on Monday, recording a comprehensive 103-80 win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion to improve to 10-5.
After a tight start to the game, a 15-2 second-quarter run gave Ness Ziona a double-digit gap (45- 35), which reached 31 points (85- 54) at one stage.
Tal Dan led six Ness Ziona players in double digits with 22 points, while Craig Smith added 18 points and eight boards. Jeremis Smith netted 19 points for Rishon (9-6).
Hapoel Holon claimed its third consecutive victory to move to 9-6 on Monday, edging Maccabi Ashdod 83-81 in overtime.
Ashdod (3-12) had its chances to claim a rare win, but squandered them time and again, with Isaac Rosefelt scoring the go-ahead basket from an offensive rebound with 20 seconds to play in overtime.
Tony Crocker had 24 points and six rebounds for Holon, with Curtis Kelly finishing with 27 points and 11 boards for the dejected Ashdod.
After losing four straight games, the new-look Bnei Herzliya returned to winning ways on Monday, beating Hapoel Eilat 104-94 on the road. Five straight points by Yuval Naimi gave Herzliya a crucial six-point edge (90- 84) late in the fourth quarter and the visitors wrapped up the win from the free-throw line.
Josh Selby had 26 points for Herzliya, which improved to 5-10. Naimi added 23 points and eight assists, while Jasper Johnson contributed 20 points and nine rebounds. New signings Julian Wright (10 points and eight boards) and Deron Washington (six points and five rebounds) played a supporting role on their debuts.
Adrian Uter led Eilat (6-9) with 23 points and eight rebounds, while Afik Nissim added 19 points and nine assists for the hosts.