Maccabi aims to return to winning ways

Gershon’s boys face Bnei Hasharon a week after Euroleague ousting in Belgrade

Maccabi TA 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Maccabi TA 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
After seeing its Euroleague campaign comae to a disappointing end against Partizan Belgrade last week, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be looking to boost its confidence on Thursday night when it hosts Bnei Hasharon at the Nokia Arena in BSL action.
By winning 17 of its 18 league games so far this season, Maccabi has already guaranteed it will enter the quarterfinal playoffs from first position in the standings, regardless of the results it achieves in its final four BSL encounters.
However, Tel Aviv will still be hoping to end the regular season on a high and maintain the aura of invincibility it has worked so hard to create since the start of the campaign.
Bnei Hasharon, on the other hand, has no such luxury and will be playing for its playoff life on Thursday. Dan Shamir’s team beat Hapoel Holon last week to strengthen its position in the top eight and can clinch a playoff berth with a victory at the Nokia Arena.
The battle for home-court advantage in the playoffs seems destined to be decided in the final week of the season, with four teams jostling for the three remaining places in the top four.
Hapoel Jerusalem’s 80-77 home defeat to Ironi Ashkelon on Tuesdayseriously complicated its situation, and Maccabi Haifa, HapoelGilboa/Galil and Barak Netanya can all take a significant step towardsa top-four finish with a win on Thursday.
Haifa has won three of its last four games, and despite falling at hometo Ironi Nahariya two weeks ago, will be a clear favorite at Romemaagainst Hapoel Afula, a loser in five of its last six encounters.
Also Thursday, Gilboa hosts Nahariya and Netanya visits Holon, withMaccabi Rishon Lezion needing a win against rock-bottom Ironi Ramat Ganto boost its chances of a top eight finish.