Mac Tel Aviv survives hot early shooting by Holon for win

“This was good preparation for the Euroleague series against Panathinaikos," Blatt says.

Hapoal Holon and Maccabi Tel Aviv 390 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoal Holon and Maccabi Tel Aviv 390
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv came back from 16 points down to defeat Hapoel Holon 82-77 on Monday night and improve to 15-2 in the BSL this season.
Holon couldn’t miss at the start of the game, opening an early 24-8 gap. The hosts still led by 14 at the end of the first period (29-15), but a 9-0 start to the second quarter brought Maccabi back within striking distance and predictably it was Tel Aviv which held its composure the better of the two teams in the decisive moments to clinch another tight league win, its sixth this season by five points or fewer.
“This was good preparation for the Euroleague series against Panathinaikos as this was also a tough road game, although there will be 10 times more fans and noise in Greece,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt, whose team begins its best-of-five Euroleague quarterfinal series against the Greeks on March 20.
“I more or less expected this type of game. Holon is an extremely well-coached side. I knew we would get off to a bad start as we were still recovering from Saturday’s Adriatic League game in Croatia.”
Devin Smith led Maccabi with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Keith Langford added 16 points and seven boards.
Tasmin Mitchell scored 23 for Holon, with Ron Lewis netting 19 for Dan Shamir’s men, who had won five of their previous six games.
“It sucks to lose, but we had a pretty good day at the office and we will learn from this,” Shamir said. “Maccabi has real depth and we ended up losing by a hair’s breadth.”
Holon couldn’t have wished for a better start on Monday, hitting all nine of its first two-point attempts to open a 24-8 lead.
Lewis took his personal total to 10 points with the three-point play that gave the hosts their biggest lead of the night and Mitchell’s basket to end the first frame ensured Holon still had a significant cushion (29-15) after 10 minutes.
Five straight points by Sofoklis Schortsanitis as part of a 9-0 run saw Maccabi close to within five points (29-24), but Holon still had the edge at halftime (43-40) and the game was still up for grabs with 10 minutes to play, with Tel Aviv leading 63-61 after a tight third period.
There was nothing to separate the teams with twoand- a-half minutes remaining after a Richard Hendrix dunk tied the score at 76-76, but Maccabi would eventually clinch the win thanks to its accuracy from the free-throw line and superior rebounding.