Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv remains perfect in the Israeli Winner League after an 81:75 home victory over Hapoel Haifa in the third matchup against the reds this season. The good news comes from John DiBartolomeo and Omri Casspi, who played well after recovering from long absences due to separate injuries.
The American guard scored eight while the Israeli forward contributed 10 points as the MVP of the Yellow & Blue was Oz Blayzer finishing the night with 21 points. Tyler Dorsey added an efficient game, scoring 9 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing four assists.
Scottie Wilbekin, Sandy Cohen, Oz Blayzer, Angelo Caloiaro, and Othello Hunter started for the Yellow & Blue squad.
Othello Hunter worked inside for Maccabi's first three points as Keenan Evans and Lenard Freeman helped Haifa take an early lead, 5:8. Blayzer slammed down a Wilbekin miss and hit a shot from the top of the key connecting six consecutive points, tying the game at 11.
John DiBartolomeo and Omri Casspi came off the bench, making their season debut. Caloiaro and Ante Zizic helped to grab a two-point edge as Omri Casspi converted two from the line, got a steal on the defensive end, grabbed a Dori Sahar miss, and laid in two more points in the paint scoring six straight points, closing the first quarter with a 5 point advantage, 20:15.
The Yellow & Blue added on to a 12:0 run from the end of the first as Zizic and Tyler Dorsey from deep gave Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad a double-digit margin, 27:15. After Freeman laid in to stop the stretch, Blayzer drained a three-pointer, stole the ball which, led to a fastbreak, and slammed it hard, totaling 16 points in the first half shooting 100% from the field, as Evans responded on the other end, working to keep the visitors in it, 38:23.
Amit Simhon and Evans led to a 9:3 Haifa run, cutting the edge to single digits, 41:32. Dorsey drove to the bucket and dished to DiBartolomeo, who drained a corner shot from deep, and Zizic worked inside against the reds big men, regaining the 14 point edge, 46:32. Jason Seegers scored the final two of the first half, 46:34.
Both offenses had a tough time finding the basket in the first couple of minutes, 50:39. Seegers, Rakeem Backles, and Simhon scored nine unanswered points, diminishing the host's advantage down to 4, 52:48.
But the Yellow & Blue shifted the momentum stopping the reds scoreless for the length of the third quarter, answering with a 9:0 stretch of their own. DiBartolomeo worked hard on the defensive end, as Dorsey and Hunter scored on the offensive side, regaining the double-digit edge, 61:48.
Casspi and Sahar laid in back to back buckets. Hunter grabbed an offensive board that initiated a DiBartolomeo triple gaining its highest margin of the night, 68:50 midway through the final quarter. Freeman converted a three-point play inside, and Evans knocked a shot from deep, reducing the Yellow & Blue lead down to 10, 68:58.
Caloiaro, four straight points by Zizic and Blayzer, increased the margin back to 15 with less than two minutes to the finish. Simhon and Karam Mashour tried to make a late surge reducing by 10 points, but Caloiaro and Sahar hit from the charity strike, keeping Maccabi perfect in the domestic competition. Maccabi defeats Hapoel Haifa 81:75.