Local Hoops: Burstein returns as Maccabi TA defeats Ramat Gan

Tel Aviv can now turn its full attention to opening game of Euroleague quarterfinal playoff against Barcelona.

tal burstein 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
tal burstein 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Tal Burstein made his long-awaited return from injury on Thursday night, scoring nine points in 10 minutes on court in Maccabi Tel Aviv's 90-69 victory over Ironi Ramat Gan at the Nokia Arena. Burstein hadn't played at all this season until Thursday and coach Tzvika Sherf was pleased with his contribution after so many months out. "I'm very happy with the 10 minutes he played," Sherf said. "I don't think he will play a part against Barcelona, but his return can help us later on in the season." Tel Aviv, which can now turn its full attention to the opening game of its Euroleague quarterfinal playoff against Barcelona next Tuesday at the Nokia Arena, scored a pitiful 29 points in the first half and trailed Ramat Gan by nine points at halftime. The hosts, however, won the second half 61-31 and brushed aside a Ramat Gan side which has now lost four straight games. Terence Morris led Maccabi with 20 points and eight rebounds, with Nikola Vujcic and Yotam Halperin adding 12 points each. Brian Tolbert scored 19 points for Ramat Gan, with Ori Itzhaki adding 17 points. Maccabi's head wasn't in the game in the first half and the visitors took full advantage. Ramat Gan led 18-15 at the end of the first period and an excellent start to the second quarter gave the team a double-digit lead. Tolbert began the period with a three-pointer and Rob Brown's triple midway through the quarter opened a 28-18 margin. Burstein scored nine points for Tel Aviv in the period, but Ramat Gan was still nine points ahead at the break (38-29). Maccabi hit the ground running after the interval, opening the second half with a 17-2 run. Will Bynum hit two three's and Halperin capped the run with an easy lay-up, giving the side a 46-40 lead. Two more points by Bynum extended the hosts advantage to nine points (57-48), but the visitors would score the final six points of the third quarter to stay within one possession of Maccabi. Morris began the fourth period with a three-point move and Alex Garcia's five straight points midway through the quarter gave Tel Aviv an unassailable 74-62 lead and secured the win.