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Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deshaun Thomas (center) drives to the basket against Maccabi Haifa’s Oz Blayzer (left) during last night’s 85-75 win in BSL action.(Photo by: ERAN LUF)
Strong finish helps Yellow-and-blue overcome Haifa
“We lost a bit of focus in third and fourth quarters, but all we care about is the win.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv maintained its hold on first place in the BSL standings with an 85-75 win at Maccabi Haifa on Sunday night, going on a 13-2 run in the final four-and-a-half minutes of the game.

Willy Workman’s three-point play gave Haifa a 73-72 lead after Tel Aviv had complete control in the first three periods. However, the Greens couldn’t complete the upset, with the yellow-andblue putting together a late surge to improve to 12-3.

Maccabi is hoping to regain consistency in local play after going 3-3 over its previous six games, suffering a surprise home loss to Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil last weekend.

Jake Cohen had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Tel Aviv, which hosts Maccabi Rishon Lezion in its next BSL game next Monday. John DiBartolomeo and Norris Cole added 16 points each.

Angel Rodriguez scored 19 points for Haifa, which lost its sixth game in a row and fell to 4-11.

“The most important thing when you are playing two games in two days after a difficult trip is to win,” said Tel Aviv coach Neven Spahija.

“We lost a bit of focus in third and fourth quarters, but all we care about is the win.”

Before Maccabi Tel Aviv thinks about the game against Rishon, it will turn its total focus to Thursday’s Euroleague trip to Zalgiris Kaunas.

Maccabi snapped its Euroleague road drought with its best offensive display of the season on Friday, beating Olimpia Milano 111-102 in Italy. Tel Aviv maintained a two-game lead over Baskonia Vitoria in the battle for a top-eight finish and a place in the playoffs with 10 regular season games to play.

The yellow-and-blue had lost its previous five road games against Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos, Real Madrid and Olympiacos by an average 18.4 points per contest, but will be targeting a second road victory in a row in Lithuania. Zalgiris has been one of the pleasant surprises of the Euroleague season to date, sitting in sixth place in the standings with a 12-8 record despite having one of the smallest budgets of the 16 teams in the competition.

Elsewhere Sunday, Hapoel Holon remained one game back of Maccabi Tel Aviv in the BSL table, moving to 11-4 with a 101-92 win at Hapoel Gilboa/Galil. Despite playing without Glen Rice Jr. and Cory Walden, Holon put on yet another offensive clinic. Guy Pnini finished with 21 points for Holon, while Joe Alexander added 19. Zach LeDay led Gilboa (8-7) with 32 points and 12 rebounds.

Bnei Herzliya (4-11) moved tied with Maccabi Haifa in the bottom of the standings after edging Ironi Nahariya (6-9) 72-69. Shawn Dawson scored 16 for the winners.
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