Yellow-and-blue swats away Habika’a

Third triumph in four nights for Mac TA; Tapiro’s triple-double paces Ashdod over Hasharon.

MACCABI TEL AVIV coach David Blatt_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
MACCABI TEL AVIV coach David Blatt_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Maccabi Tel Aviv made it three wins in four days on Sunday night, beating BC Habika’a 89-79 to move back to the top of the BSL standings.
The yellow-and-blue ran completely out of gas the first time it had to play three times in 72 hours this season, falling to a humbling defeat to Hapoel Jerusalem last month.
However, it coped with the extra exertion much better this time around, coming back from a double-digit deficit to defeat Habika’a 24 hours after crushing Slovenia’s Helios Domzale by 38 points (94-56) in the Adriatic League and three days after thrashing Efes Istanbul by 39 points (96-57) in the Euroleague.
Tel Aviv seemed set for another straightforward victory after taking an 11-2 lead midway through the first period following Yogev Ohayon’s three-point play.
However, Habika’a closed to within three points by the end of the quarter (22-19) before surging into a stunning lead.
A Frank Robinson dunk gave the visitors their first lead (27- 25) and Gur Porat’s threepointer with less than two minutes to play in the half opened a 46-35 margin.
But crucially, Maccabi scored the final six points of the quarter to cut the deficit to five (46- 41) and the hosts quickly pulled ahead after the break.
A 10-2 run to start the second half, capped by a Tal Burstein triple, put Tel Aviv back in front and the hosts opened an eightpoint gap (67-59) by the end of the third frame, a lead they had little trouble maintaining to improve to 8-1 on the BSL season.
Richard Hendrix led Maccabi with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Devin Smith had 16 points and eight boards, with Keith Langford and Burstein scoring 15 points each for Tel Aviv, which visits Charleroi in its final Euroleague regular season game on Thursday.
Paul Delaney scored 25 points for Habika’a, which has lost four of its past five games.
Elsewhere, 36-year-old Meir Tapiro recorded his fifth career triple-double to help Maccabi Ashdod to an 89-53 thumping of Bnei Hasharon on Sunday.
The game was decided by a 24-2 Ashdod run (46-26), which ended Bnei Hasharon’s resistance.
Tapiro finished the game with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, with Ramel Bradley scoring 23 for the winners.
Tweety Carter had 22 points for Bnei Hasharon, which has shown little improvement since Adi Azulai replaced Roei Hagay as coach.
Hapoel Holon strengthened its position in the top half of the table with its fourth win in five games, beating Maccabi Haifa 104-91 on the road.
Holon opened an early lead and held it until the end of the game, scoring at will against a Haifa team struggling on the defensive end without center Sean Williams, who refused to return from holiday in the US.
Haifa had no answer for Ron Lewis, sending him to the line a massive 20 times, with the American guard ending the game with 38 points, hitting 19 of 20 free throws.
Moran Rot added 15 points and 10 assists, with Sylven Landesberg scoring 23 points for Haifa, which has lost three straight games.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil visits Barak Netanya on Monday.