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Maccabi Tel Avivs Sylven Landesberg 370.(Photo by: Adi Avishai)
Mac TA’s BSL streak hits 15 games; Eilat into 2nd place
Tel Aviv began the second half with an 11-2 run (46- 41), but Holon never lost touch, taking a 59-57 advantage early in the fourth period.
A 10-0 run in less than three fourth-quarter minutes was all Maccabi Tel Aviv needed to defeat Hapoel Holon 73-66 on Sunday night for its 15th straight BSL win.

A Frank Hassell basket early in the second quarter at Nokia Arena gave Holon a double-digit lead (25-14) and the gap reached 16 points (32-16) before Maccabi scored 23 of the first half’s final 30 points to close within touching distance (39-35) by the break.

Tel Aviv began the second half with an 11-2 run (46- 41), but Holon never lost touch, taking a 59-57 advantage early in the fourth period.

However, Maccabi would reply swiftly with 10 unanswered points to open a lead (67-59) it easily maintained until the final buzzer.

“About half our team didn’t train on Saturday and that showed in the first half,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt.

“Holon also did a good job and their coach Dan Shamir deserves every credit for the work he is doing under tough circumstances.”

Devin Smith led Maccabi with 18 points and nine rebounds, with Ricky Hickman scoring 16 and Shawn James adding 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lior Eliyahu had just two points in eight minutes on court for Maccabi, but his return to action after three weeks out due to strained knee ligaments, was very welcome news for Maccabi ahead of its Euroleague game at Caja Laboral Vitoria on Thursday.

Tel Aviv’s lingering hopes of progressing from Top 16 Group F were kept alive with last Thursday’s 92-61 thrashing of Montepaschi Siena, but even coach Blatt will have to admit defeat should the yellow-and-blue fail to beat Vitoria.

“Vitoria is an excellent team with many weapons and we will have to play at a high level throughout to win,” Blatt said.

Hapoel Eilat climbed up to second place for at least 24 hours on Sunday, beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 76-59.

The visitors had a five-point edge at halftime (39-34), but were held to just 20 points in the entire second half by Eilat, which clinched the win with a 17-4 run (68-52).

Eli Holman had 19 points for Eilat, with Jerome Tillman scoring 13 and Larry O’Bannon netting 13 points in his debut.

Demontez Stitt and Curtis Kelly had 12 points each for Tel Aviv, which lost for the seventh time in nine games.

Hapoel Gilboa/Galil built on its recent form with its fourth win in six games on Sunday, thrashing Barak Netanya 96-75.

Jamar Smith and Dagan Yavzuri had 22 and 20 points, respectively, for Gilboa, which effectively secured the victory by the break, opening an 18- point margin (50-32).

Yehu Orland and Marco Killingsworth scored 19 points each for Netanya, which dropped to its fifth loss in seven contests.

Also Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion beat Bnei Herzliya 88-82.

Julian Wright, Willie Warren and Lazeric Jones scored 23, 22 and 20 points, respectively, for Rishon, while Romel Beck led Herzliya in scoring with 24 points.

On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem visits Ironi Ashkelon and Maccabi Haifa hosts Maccabi Ashdod.
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