Haifa returns to form with victory over Maccabi Rishon
Avi Ashkenazi’s side dominated the second half and got yet another superb game from Davon Jefferson, with the American forward scoring a season-high 28 points and taking nine rebounds.
By ALLON SINAI
After suffering frustrating defeats to Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the past two weeks, Maccabi Haifa returned to winning ways on Saturday with a 95-81 victory at Maccabi Rishon Lezion.Haifa had won seven straight games before losing to the big two, and on Saturday showed once more that it is clearly superior to most of the other teams in the BSL.Avi Ashkenazi’s side dominated the second half and got yet another superb game from Davon Jefferson, with the American forward scoring a season-high 28 points and taking nine rebounds.Rishon began the game with an 8-0 run, but Haifa scored the next 12 points and led 22-17 after 10 minutes. An Amit Ben-David basket extended the gap to 11 points (29-18), but Rishon trailed by just four points at the break (43-39).Haifa was in control in the third quarter and pulled ahead in the fourth period to claim a confidence-boosting victory.On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv, buoyed by its Euroleague victory over Real Madrid on Thursday, visits the struggling Ironi Nahariya.Nahariya has lost seven of its last eight BSL games and will be hoping Maccabi will take its eye off Sunday’s encounter with a crucial continental game against Efes Pilsen coming up on Thursday.AdvertisementTel Aviv’s Alan Anderson was named the Euroleague’s Top 16 Week 2 MVP with 20 points on 4-for-5 two-point and 9-of-9 free-throw shooting.Anderson posted his Euroleague career highs in defensive rebounds (8), assists (5), steals (4) and minutes played (37) and together with a block and 11 fouls drawn amassed a performance index rating of 40.The American is the first player to reach an index rating of 40 or higher in any Top 16 game for almost five years. Former Maccabi star and two-time Euroleague MVP, Anthony Parker, was the last player to do so, also posting 40 in a Top 16 win against Montepaschi Siena on March 3, 2005.Also Sunday, Barak Netanya hosts Ironi Ramat Gan, Hapoel Afula visits Bnei Hasharon and Hapoel Holon welcomes Ironi Ashkelon.The game between Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and Hapoel Jerusalem will be played next Sunday.On TV: Hapoel Holon vs Ironi Ashkelon (live at 7:40 p.m. on Sport5); Ironi Nahariya vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (live at 9 p.m. on Channel 10)
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