By Amy Samin
A ceremony honoring Guy Goodes (coach of the two-month period of December/January), Lior Eliyahu (player of the two-month period of December/January) and Omar Sneed (player of the round) took place before the start of the game.
Maccabi started the game with Carlos Arroyo, Marcus Brown, Omri Casspi, Lior Eliyahu and D’or Fischer.
Hapoel Jerusalem’s starting five included Omar Sneed, Moran Rot, Timmy Bowers, Travis Watson and Sharon Shason.
As was fitting for a game of this magnitude, the teams looked both well-matched and pumped up from the very beginning.
Baskets by Fischer gave Maccabi a 6 – 2 lead after two minutes of play in the first quarter.
Shots that Maccabi had made earlier in the quarter suddenly refused to sink, while
Three-pointers by Shason and Bowers gave the visitors a 23 – 16 lead with a minute remaining in the period.
Maccabi kept their pace fast in the second quarter, with Arroyo drawing Marcus Brown into Maccabi’s offense.
Two three-pointers and a bucket by Marcus, plus a string of alley-oop passes by Carlos to Fischer and Charles Gaines, gave Maccabi a 14 – 1 scoring run and put the score at 34 – 26, Maccabi, three minutes into the second period.
Maccabi also put on an impressive show defensively.
After calling a time-out, Hapoel managed to score some points, but notable play by Gaines, who came into the game off the bench with great enthusiasm, helped Maccabi maintain the lead, 41 – 30 with four minutes left in the half.
Maccabi showed no signs of letting up, and two baskets by Eliyahu had Maccabi leading by 16 near the end of the quarter.
Yuval Naimi sank a three-pointer for Hapoel to close the gap a bit, but with four seconds left in the half, Tre Simmons stole a Jerusalem in-bounds pass and gave up a Hail Mary from the half court line, hitting nothing but net and sending the teams to the locker rooms with the score 53 – 37.
Maccabi protected their lead at the start of the second half, in spite of slack defense, with points by Arroyo and Marcus Brown keeping Maccabi safely ahead, 60 – 45 two and a half minutes into the third quarter.
Eventually, Maccabi’s sloppy defense enabled the visitors to close within ten, 60 – minutes of play.
Maccabi got their act together on defense and took off offensively and, in spite of Marcus Brown being called for his fourth foul of the game, with two and a half minutes left in the quarter Maccabi led 68 – 52.
Maccabi continued to play well, and thanks to strong play by Eliyahu under the basket, the quarter ended with the score 74 – 59, Maccabi.
Shots from outside the arc by Tal Burstein and Marcus Brown got the final quarter off to an excellent start for Maccabi, and a minute and a half into the period Maccabi led 80 – 61.
Hapoel didn’t give up though, and aided by weak play on offense by the hosts, went on a 10 – 2 scoring run to cut Maccabi’s lead to 82 – 71 after four and a half minutes of play.
Maccabi’s offense continued to be weak even up until the closing minutes of the game, but fortunately
Team captain Derrick Sharp came off the bench to do what he does best, and injected new life into Maccabi’s game with a steal and fresh momentum.
Arroyo scored four more points and sent a fabulous alley-oop to Fischer, taking Maccabi to a 90 – 75 lead with a minute remaining.
Arroyo was unstoppable, adding another three-pointer to his stats while Maccabi fought hard to defeat
Arroyo added another point from the foul line, and then in-bounded the ball to Sharp, who gave Hapoel the coup de grace with one of his signature three-pointers from the corner.
The final 97 – 81 score was enough to put Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv back where they belong, first place in Israeli League standings.
Arroyo 24 points, 10 assists; Fischer 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks; Marcus Brown 16 points; Eliyahu 12 points, 6 assists; Gaines and Casspi, 8 points each; Simmons, Burstein and Sharp 3 points each.
Hapoel Jerusalem: Bowers and Rot 20 points each; Watson 13 points; Sneed and Naimi 9 points each; Shason 6 points; Powell and Marckovich 2 points each.