Blatt rests starters as Maccabi TA crushes Ashkelon

Maccabi Tel Aviv makes it 10 BSL wins in a row, cruising to an 80-59 victory over Ironi Ashkelon.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Malcolm Thomas 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Malcolm Thomas 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv made it 10 BSL wins in a row on Monday night, cruising to an 80-59 victory over Ironi Ashkelon at Nokia Arena.
Maccabi, which improved to 12-1 on the season, held just a four-point lead at the break (39- 35), but outscored Ashkelon 17- 5 in the third quarter and the final 10 minutes were no more than garbage time.
The easy win allowed yellow-and-blue coach David Blatt to rest several of his starters ahead of Friday’s Euroleague game at Khimki Moscow.
“It is a good thing that we came through this game in one piece and a good thing that we won it,” Blatt said. “This encounter came on the back of three very intensive games so it was only natural that there would be a bit of a let down.
“I wanted to give Shawn James and Devin Smith some rest and hand other players a chance,” he added. “I had to think about Friday’s game and make sure that my players will be healthy and rested for Khimki.”
Despite playing just 23 minutes, Smith led Maccabi with 19 points and six rebounds, with Sylven Landesberg scoring 13 and Moran Rot building on his breakthrough performance against Fenerbahce Ulker on Thursday with 10 points and six assists in 21 minutes.
Marcus Dove had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Ashkelon, which dropped to 5-8 with its third defeat in four games.
Also Monday, Bnei Herzliya continued to gather momentum, edging Barak Netanya 86- 83 on the road for its fourth win in five games.
Herzliya had won just two of its first eight encounters of the season, but it has only lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv in its five games since and eked out another tight win on Monday.
Netanya opened the game with a 12-2 run, but Herzliya completed a comeback by the end of the first period (26-25) and seized control of the contest with a 25-3 second-quarter surge.
The hosts closed to within a single point in the fourth frame and could have sent the game into overtime, but Raymar Morgan missed an open three-pointer at the final buzzer.
Jumaine Jones led Herzliya with 25 points and nine boards, with Marco Killingsworth scoring 18 for Netanya, which lost for the sixth time in eight games to drop to 7-6.
Hapoel Holon visits Paris Levallois in its EuroChallenge Last 16 Group J opener on Tuesday.