After the last two defeats in the Super League, Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv needed this evening, 8 days before meeting TAU Vitoria in Prague, a moral victory.And in spite of a mediocre performance, they did it with not too much trouble
The 83-71 win over Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem not only put Maccabi on top of the Super League standings, but assured that Maccabbi will not have to play in Malha on Sunday on the opening day of the third round.
But not everything shined at Pini Gershon`s camp. And with Euroleague Final Four just around the corner, there is some concern when the players miss 13 free throws (67%) and enable their opponents to pull down 15 offensive rebounds (total 42-34 for the visitors).
Maccabi was impressive in defense that kept Erez Edelstein`s team on 39% FG (Maccabi 48%). The Yellows also had 12 steals.
After a 22-21 first quarter, Maccabi opened a 37-29 lead with 5 minutes to go to half time and in spite of some bad shooting arrived at the break 42-36 up.
Jerusalem lost their ace Horace Jenkins with an ankle injury and got only 2 points from their Israeli players in the first half. With five minutes gone into the third, Maceo Baston was called for his fourth foul, protested loudly, got a technical and was fouled out. It did not stop his team opening a 16 pts lead (59-43). But Jerusalem came back with a 10-2 run and at the end of the period Maccabi`s lead was 61-53.
The refereeing was terrible and affected both teams. Jerusalem lost Tamar Slay and Maccabi lost Yaniv Green, both fouled out early in the final period. But Nikola Vujcic Will Solomon & Anthony Parker put Maccabi 80-67 up and a three pointer by Derrick Sharp gave Maccabi its third win of the season over Jeruslaem.
Solomon was Maccabi`s top players with 17 pts in 50% FG and 10-10 in FT, 4 rbds, 4 asts and 8 fouls received. Anthony Parker had a poor shooting night (4-12 FG and in total 15 pts) but he pulled down 5 rbds, dished out 6 asts and made 2 steals. Tal Burstein played well with 12 pts in 56% FG, 6 rbds, 5 asts & 3 steals.
Other Maccabi scorers: Vujcic 15 pts & 5 rbds, Sharp 10, Baston 9, Green 5.
Top player for Hapoel Jerusalem was Mario Austin with 21 pts & 11 rbds. Slay scored 13 pts.