Mac TA sends a message with derby domination

Yellow-and-blue outplays Hapoel TA to set up Winner Cup semifinal vs Hapoel Eilat.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Alex Tyus 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Alex Tyus 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv gave its fans plenty to look forward to in the upcoming season with Monday’s emphatic 87-73 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the quarterfinals of the Winner Cup at Nokia Arena.
With the BSL season starting on Sunday and the Euroleague getting underway next Thursday, Maccabi was keen to show it will be entering the new campaign with all guns blazing.
The yellow-and-blue made a statement in the first half on Monday, surging to a 26-point gap by the break (54- 28) to book a meeting with Hapoel Eilat in Wednesday’s semifinals.
Hapoel Jerusalem thrashed Barak Netanya 88-71 earlier Monday and will face Hapoel Holon in the last four in Rishon Lezion on Wednesday.
Devin Smith was head and shoulders above his Maccabi teammates in the derby, ending the game with 28 points and seven rebounds.
“We got off to a good start. I think we’ve got to just keep working at staying aggressive the whole game,” said Smith. “We are very hungry. We were practicing for a long time so it feels good to play a game.” Sylven Landesberg scored 13 points for Maccabi, while Carlon Brown led Hapoel with 21 points and Jonathan Skjoldebrand added 17 points.
Maccabi took its time to find its range, giving Hapoel the illusion that it could compete with the yellow-and-blue.
However, it wasn’t long before Maccabi showed its superiority, effectively clinching the win early in the second frame.
Maccabi coach David Blatt surprisingly began the game with young American Jake Cohen, and the forward displayed plenty of promise, giving the coach much to mull over with David Blu watching from the stands a day after taking part in his first training session with Maccabi since coming out of retirement.
While Maccabi’s new names attracted most of the attention on Monday, it was the reliable Smith who carried the team throughout the game.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis was unstoppable in local league play in his first stint in yellow-and-blue and it seems likely that will be the case once more in the coming campaign, with the Greek center giving Maccabi a double-digit cushion (24-14) after powering to a three-point play.
Four straight points by Landesberg from two offensive rebounds to end the first quarter opened a 31-16 gap, and despite the absence of Shawn James, Hapoel was never going to mount a comeback.
A Smith three took the lead to 20 points (38-18) and the second half was pure garbage time after Maccabi increased its margin to 26 points (54- 28) by the break.
In the first game of the evening, an early 13-2 run by Jerusalem, capped by a Derwin Kitchen basket, gave Hapoel a lead (13-6) it wouldn’t relinquish.
Jerusalem’s gap reached double-digits (26-16) by the end of the first period, with the Reds still comfortably in front at halftime (40-31).
Hapoel, which was playing without the injured Yotam Halperin, continued to dominate under the baskets in the second half and its overall supremacy was never in doubt.
Jerusalem outrebounded Netanya 46- 27, ending the night with 20 offensive boards, and its gap reached 20 points (66-46) late in the third quarter, allowing coach Brad Greenberg to play his youngsters in the final 10 minutes.
Josh Duncan had 13 points for Hapoel, with 18-year-old Adam Ariel adding 11 points and Zack Rosen scoring 10.
Rashaun Freeman led Netanya with 23 points.
In other basketball news, Matan Harush was named as Maccabi Rishon Lezion’s new coach on Monday, replacing Roni Bosani who surprisingly quit last week.