Hapoel Jerusalem head coach Erez Edelstein, had many excuses for his team`s four defeats this season vs Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv. Tonight he got a lesson fropm Pini Gershon & his players who proved beyond any doubt that they are still Israel`s number one team.
The 30 points margin was achieved in the final period (32-12). But all throughout the game the Yellows were those who controlled the pace and Jerusalem never came closer than 5 points.
Macabi opened with 9-0 and it took 3 minues & 22 seconds for Roger Mason to put Jerusalem on the scoreboard. Will Solomon was already on the bench with two fouls. Sharon Shason replaced Nikola Vujcic and immediately shot two three pointers that put Maccabi 21-10 up. Maccabi players missed their free throws once & again and enabled Jerusalem to come back to 23-16 at the end of the opening quarter.
Solomon came back for the second half and immediately connected twice (29-20). Maccabi led 37-29 but a turnover by Solomon was exploited by Edelstein`s team to come back to 37-32. Maccabi responded with three pointers by Burstein & Shason (45-32). A three pointer on the buzzer by Mason made the score at half time 45-35.
Solomon produced two three pointers to put Maccabi on 54-42 but then he commited his fourth personal foul and was taken off. Another three pointer by Burstein gave Maccabi a 58-46. The referees called two consecutive offensive fouls on Green & Shason and a three pointer by Mario Austin made the score 60-54. But Vujcic & Parker closed the third period on 64-54.
The final quarter was an one sided show with all Maccabi players taking part and make the final score 96-66. It was another League & Cup double and the 13th championship in a row for the Yellows. Derrick Sharp lifted the plate and the players were awarded the championship rings. The 2005/06 is over.
The only sore note of the night the torn Achilles Tendon suffered by Tal Burstein which may keep him out for several months.
The main reason for Maccabi`s impressive win was their excellent defense which completely eliminated the Jerusalem guards. Horace Jenkins made 0-8 FG, Roger Mason 3-9 and Meir Tapiro 104. Together they scored 15 pts.
Before the game Anthony Parker was crowned 2006/06 MVP of the Super League. And he responded with another efficient performance producing an index rating of 29 through 13 ors in 57% FG, 6 rbds, 8 asts, 3 stls & 7 received fouls.
Other Maccabi scorers: Vujcic 20 in 67% FG, 6 rbds, Solomon 14 pts in 62% FG & 7 stls, Shason 12 pts (4-6 for three) & 9 rbds, Sharp 12 (3-3 for three), Burstein 9, Baston 9 pts & 6 rbds, Green 5, Dotan 2 pts.
Top scorers for Jerusalem: Slay 29, Austin 18 & 7 rbds, Naor 11 pts.