Yellow-and-blue continues to plow along

Mac TA survives scare against Ashdod; J’lem steamrolls Holon for fifth straight win.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Alex Tyus  (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Alex Tyus
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv extended its BSL winning streak to 15 games with another tight victory on Monday night, while Hapoel Jerusalem cruised to its fifth straight league win.
The yellow-and-blue was playing in its third game in five days, with an important Euroleague contest against Red Star Belgrade coming up on Thursday.
Coach Guy Goodes decided to rest star forward Devin Smith after he scored 34 points in the two-point win over Bnei Herzliya on Saturday and yet again Maccabi only clinched the win at the wire, ultimately beating Maccabi Ashdod 84-81 at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
There was little to separate the teams throughout the night, with a James Nunnally three-pointer tying the score at 81-81 with 1:32 minutes to play.
Brian Randle put Maccabi back in front at the other end, but Tel Aviv struggled to close out the game. Zack Rosen could have put Tzvika Sherf’s Ashdod ahead with 12 seconds remaining, but his three-point shot was blocked by Jeremy Pargo and the yellow-and-blue survived.
Marquez Haynes led five Maccabi players in double figures with 20 points, while Pargo had 18 points and 10 assists for Tel Aviv (19-2), which has won four of its past five BSL games by four points or fewer.
Nunnally finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds for Ashdod, which fell to 6-15.
“The bottom line is that we managed to win all three games in the past five days,” said Goodes.
In Jerusalem, the hosts all but secured their 89-59 win over Hapoel Holon with an early 21-2 run, opening a 38-16 lead in the second quarter. Holon never threatened to mount a comeback, with Jerusalem improving to 15-6 to further strengthen its hold on second place in the standings.
Yotam Halperin led Jerusalem with 20 points, while Dominic McGuire scored 14 points for Holon, which fell to 12-9 after losing its second straight game following six wins from its previous seven contests.
While the winning streaks by Maccabi and Jerusalem are hardly surprising, few people predicted Ironi Nahariya claiming four consecutive victories. Nahariya, which had occupied the foot of the standings early in the season, improved to 9-12 and moved up to seventh place on Monday with an 86-82 victory over Hapoel Eilat (10-11).
Robert Rothbart continued his sensational season for Nahariya with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Mark Lyons added 21 points for the hosts, which held a sixpoint lead (43-37) at the break and remained in front throughout the second half.
Adrian Uter had 20 points and 12 boards for Eilat, which lost for the first time under coach Arik Shivek after winning on his debut last week.
Also Monday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion (12-9) handed rock-bottom Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (5-16) its ninth straight loss, claiming an 84-72 win at Gan Ner.
Shawn Dowson and Tony Younger scored 16 points each for Rishon, while Stanley Burrell had 15 points for Gilboa, which is still searching for its first win in 2015.
The BSL All-Star game will take place in Holon on Tuesday night, with the foreigners looking to claim their second straight win over the Israelis.