The reigning champions will head out to last year's Winner league runner-up Rishon LeZion, for their Israeli season opener. Giannis Sfairopoulos: "Want to begin the Israeli league with a great effort, high energy, and follow the game plan to be ready to compete"
After opening their EuroLeague season on Thursday, Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv is about to begin their 2019/2020 Winner League campaign, as they'll come up against Guy Goodes's Maccabi Rishon Le' Zion (Sunday, 20:15, live on channel 5Plus). The Israeli champions get to face the runner-up, for a rematch of last year's championship game. Maccabi beat Rishon, 89:75, to win their 53rd Israeli league title.
Elijah Bryant, Scottie Wilbekin, Nate Wolters, Othello Hunter, and Tarik Black were registered as the team's foreigners. As for Tyler Dorsey, Sandy Cohen, Angelo Caloiaro, and Quincy Acy, they won't dress up for this game. Omri Casspi intends to experience his first Israeli league action since the 2008/09 finals, then he scored 15 points and dropped 6 rebounds against Maccabi Haifa.
"It's a very important game for us, we play against our rivals from last year's final", Said coach Giannis Sfairopoulos before the game. "Rishon is a solid team that plays well together and gets great contribution from their bench. We want to begin the Israeli league with a great effort, high energy, and follow the game plan to be ready to compete".
The Orange team comes into the game after a tough, 55:88, loss to Promitheas Patras in their Eurocup debut game. In league play, the Tel-Avivians have a commanding 67:8 record over the wine city, with a plus 1054 point differential. Last season, Rishon Le' Zion beat Maccabi in the Israeli Cup and Winner Cup. Still, in the Winner League, Maccabi came up on top with three regular-season wins and another victory in the league finals.
Rishon made a couple of changes to their squad this offseason, adding the versatile Jordan Swing, Alex Chubrevich, Devon Saddler, and Johnathan Williams while keeping Nimrod Tishman, Darryl Monroe, Adam Ariel, Alex Hamilton, Oz Blayzer and the 17-year-old Noam Dovrat.
Maccabi outplays Rishon LeZion 81:66
The Israeli champions start the new Israeli league campaign with a victory over last year runner-up on the road. Deni Avdija dropped 15 for a career-high in points. Next up: Real Madrid
Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv opened the 2019/20 Winner league season the same way she ended the last one, with a win over Maccabi Rishon LeZion, this time 88:66 at the Beit Maccabi arena. Deni Avdija went off for 15 points setting a new career-high for the young forward, Omri Casspi had a tremendous game, as Jake Cohen, Yovel Zoosman, John DiBartolomeo, and Scottie Wilbekin all ended up in double figures.
The Yellow & Blue came into the game with a short squad after Tarik Black came in late and was removed from this game. In the third quarter, the visitors ran away with the lead to start their Israeli season 1:0. Maccabi's next stop will be in Spain, as they'll face on Thursday the undefeated Real Madrid team.
Scored for Maccabi: Deni Avdija 15 points (5/8 from the field, 3/4 from the line), Omri Casspi 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Jake Cohen 11 points & 8 rebounds, Yovel Zoosman (4/6 from the field), John DiBartolomeo (4 steals), Scottie Wilbekin 10 points each, Nate Wolters 7 points and 4 assists, Elijah Bryant 5 points and Othello Hunter played but didn't score. Top scores for Rishon LeZion: Darryl Monroe 13 points, Oz Blayzer 12 points, Jordan Swing 11 points.
Giannis Sfairopoulos opened the game with Scottie Wilbekin, Nate Wolters, Yovel Zoosman, Omri Casspi, and Othello Hunter. Wolters and Casspi started strong on both sides of the court, helping Maccabi take a 9:2 advantage after 3 minutes. The home team was able to come back and take the lead 20:19, but a Deni Avdija three-pointer gave the Yellow & Blue a 22:20 lead after one.
Casspi hit a shot behind the arc that ignited an 8:0 run to give Maccabi a double-digit lead, 32:22. Adam Ariel and Nimrod Tishman answered with two threes in a row to reduce the score. On the other end, Elijah Bryant dropped a three-pointer, and Deni Avidja with a big dunk gave Maccabi a 4 point lead. Devon Saddler, with a three at the end of the first half, cut Maccabi's advantage all the way down to a one-point game, 41:40 at the half.
Midway through the third, Scottie Wilbekin scored seven straight points to give Maccabi an 8 point edge. John DiBartolomeo led the visitors to a comfortable 17 point advantage (66:49) while allowing Rishon LeZion to score only 9 points in the third quarter.
Zoosman with another three-pointer added up to the score, while Avdija gave Maccabi a 20 point lead (73:53). The visitors start the Israeli season with a win, 81:66 over Rishon LeZion.