Hapoel Jerusalem faces tricky test against Herzliya

Bnei Herzliya, Milt Palacio will look to turn up the heat on Hapoel Jerusalem when the teams face off in BSL action.

BNEI HERZLIYA and Milt Palacio (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
BNEI HERZLIYA and Milt Palacio
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Jerusalem continues its search for a first road win of the season when it visits Bnei Herzliya on Sunday night.
Jerusalem finally got off the mark in the BSL last week with a 90-71 win over Maccabi Ashdod at Malha Arena.
However, it returned to losing ways on Wednesday, falling at BC Prienai of Lithuania in its Eurocup opener for its fourth defeat in five games in all competitions.
Coach Sharon Drucker rightly refuses to panic, but having replaced the sacked Oded Katash in January, he knows all too well that the Jerusalem management will lose its patience before too long should the team continue to struggle.
After improving to 5-0 in Euroleague Group B on Thursday, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be confident of moving to 4-1 in the BSL when it hosts the winless Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Sunday.
Unlike the previous two weeks, Maccabi had to fight until the final buzzer before beating Alba Berlin 78-76 in Germany behind 20 points from Devin Smith.
“Like we expected, this game was a very difficult and challenging one to win,” said coach David Blatt.
“We ended the first round of games with a perfect record and three road wins and that is not something that can be taken for granted, even if our group isn’t that strong.”
Smith missed much of the preseason as well as the start of the campaign due to injury, but he has been instrumental for the yellowand- blue since his recovery, being one of only two returning foreigners from last season.
“This road win is a great one for us, because we are now 5-0, even though we are a new team and had to deal with several injuries at the beginning of the season,” said Smith.
“We started very well, but Alba proved that they are a good team by staying in the game and fighting back.”
Maccabi Ashdod or Ironi Ashkelon will finally record their first win of the season when they face-off on Sunday after both opened their campaigns 0-4.
Elsewhere Sunday, Hapoel Holon visits Hapoel Eilat in a showdown between two teams at 3-1.
On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Rishon Lezion visits Barak Netanya, which is the league’s only remaining unbeaten team.
On TV: Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (live on Sport5 at 7:30 p.m.).