Israeli Basketball: A Very Yellow Weekend

— by Amir Shoam

Maccabi Tel Aviv thrashed Polish champion Prokom Gdynia 93-62 last Thursday in the basketball Euroleague group stage. The win came four days after the humiliating domestic league defeat, 64-81 to Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Maccabi led 27-13 after the first quarter on the way to 50-30 at the break, and most of the second half became “garbage time.” (With little doubt in the final result coaches of both teams replaced their best players with substitutes in order to protect their stars from injury and give their second stringers valuable playing experience.)

More after the jump.
Ricky Hickman led the side with 14 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 24 minutes. David Logan added 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in 22 minutes. The most influential Israeli was point guard Yogev Ohayon, with 8 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and no turnovers in 24 minutes.

The win kept Maccabi on top of group B with 4 wins out of 4 games. Next Thursday the team will play in Germany against Alba Berlin (2 wins, 2 losses) in the final game of the 1st round.

Maccabi’s head coach, David Blatt, announced earlier this week that he will not continue as the head coach of the Russian national team, “for personal reasons”. Just over a year from his appointment, the American/Israeli coach led the team to win the 2007 European championship. He later won the bronze medal in both the 2011 continental championship and the Olympic tournament last summer.

Jordan Farmar contributed 18 points to one of the Euroleague’s greatest upsets of recent years: Efes Istanbul went back from trailing 30-48 after the 1st half to a 76-64 win over Caja Vitoria. The American Jew, who won 2 NBA championships with the LA Lakers, also added 6 rebounds and 3 assists in his 30 minutes on the field.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s soccer team also had success today as it went to top the Israeli premier league table after a 3-1 win over Hapoel Ramat Gan. Eliran Atar scored his 8th and 9th goals of the season during the first 4 minutes of the second half and keeps leading the top scorers’ table. Maccabi now has 21 points of 8 games. SC Ashdod, which is having a surprisingly good season so far, went down to the 2nd place with 19 points after 0-0 versus Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Hapoel Tel Aviv (15 points) will play tomorrow against Maccabi Netanya. Next Saturday Maccabi and Hapoel Tel Aviv will play each other.

Eden Ben Basat scored yesterday his 4th goal of the season (in 7 appearances) for Stade Brest in the win 2-0 against FC Lorient in the French Ligue 1. Goalkeeper Guy Haimov broke the Cypriot first division record for not conceding a goal for the longest time, as he kept his net clean in the 8th straight game since the start of the season. His team, AEK Larnaka, is coached by Ran Ben Shimon, who led Ironi Kiryat Shmona to a sensational Israeli championship last season. The team beat AEP Paphos 3-0 today and has 22 table points.


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