Yellow-and-blue runs over Hapoel at Malha

Jerusalem outclassed at home by Maccabi; Mac Haifa snaps skid in Nawi’s debut.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Malha Arena has been the scene of a fair share of Maccabi Tel Aviv defeats throughout the years, but that was never going to be the case on Sunday night.
Maccabi led throughout Sunday’s showdown against Hapoel Jerusalem, eventually cruising to an 84-73 victory to improve its BSL record to 11-1 on the season.
Without the injured Brian Randle and Yuval Naimi, Jerusalem never really looked like a team that believed it could deny Tel Aviv its 10th double-digit win in 12 games this season, and Maccabi coach David Blatt was pleased with his side’s victory.
“It is always difficult to win these tough road games and every victory like this is a sign of progress,” Blatt said.
Doron Perkins led Maccabi with 22 points and eight rebounds, with Sofoklis Schortsanitis scoring 15 points.
Jason Rich had 20 points for Jerusalem, which has lost three of its last four games in all competitions.
“Had we played slightly smarter we could have made more of a game of it,” Jerusalem coach Oded Katash said. “Nevertheless, I’m pleased with our performance and I’m optimistic regarding our future.”
With Jerusalem’s already thin front court missing Randle, Schortsanitis was having a field day under the basket early on, and his 10th point of the night gave Maccabi a 16-11 lead after six minutes.
Tel Aviv scored on 10 of its 12 field goals in the first period and after 10 minutes held a promising 27-17 gap.
Six minutes through the second quarter, Maccabi was still ahead by doubledigits (36-25), but Hapoel would never give up the chase and slowly ate away at the margin.
A 13-4 run brought the hosts within two points (40-38) and the visitors led 43-38 at the break.
Maccabi quickly extended its lead at the start of the second half, with a Pargo three opening a 47-38 margin.
A Lior Eliyahu dunk capped Maccabi’s 11-3 run to start the second half (54-41) and despite a mini-comeback, the visitors were still ahead by double-figures (61-51) with 10 minutes to play.
Jerusalem never came close to mounting a rally in the fourth period and two straight threes by Tal Burstein and Pargo opened a 77-60 gap from which there would be no return.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa snapped its six-game league losing streak, defeating Barak Netanya 91-83 in Ami Nawi’s first BSL encounter as the head coach.
Nawi was promoted from the assistant’s position after Elad Hasin was sacked last week, and the change paid immediate dividend, with Haifa pulling ahead in the second half for a significant win.
Frank Robinson scored 25 points for Haifa, with Romeo Travis leading the losers with 24 points.
Also Sunday, the in-form Maccabi Ashdod was cooled off by Maccabi Rishon Lezion, with Effi Birenboim’s team winning 78-77 at home after a dramatic finish.
Ironi Ashkelon hosts Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Monday.