Maccabi Bazan Haifa host Hapoel Eilat tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:30pm at Romema, for the second game in the quarterfinals series. In the first game, the Greens were defeated 95-74 at Eilat with Afik Nissim and Adrian Uter leading the way for Eilat. However, the Greens have held a strong home-court advantage at Romema this season with a 11-5 record, and have a 15-8 franchise record at Romema in 13 seasons in the playoffs.
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The Greens had a poor defensive showing last Sunday at Eilat, recording only 4 steals, compared to their 11.2 season average (first in the league). Haifa also committed 20 turnovers, with Rene Rougeau and Moran Roth each turning the ball over 5 times. Roth returned to the court after a 3 game absence due to a shoulder Injury. The Green point guard finished the game with 2 points and 8 assists in 28 minutes.
“We are working hard to learn from our mistakes in the first game of the series,” said Rami Hadar. “We need to come more focused and aggressive, in order to get the win and tie the series tomorrow”.
Captain Dagan Yivzori continued his hot streak of late, tallying 16 points at Eilat, and has averaged 13.3 points per game over his last six games. Yivzori finished his second regular season in a Green uniform, scoring 700 points (regular seasons only) and ranks 36th in Maccabi’s all-time scorers. He is 34 points shy of passing former star Davon Jefferson.
“I believe that we will learn from our mistakes for the game on Wednesday. We have a long series ahead of us, and I think it’s maybe good that we had that lesson,” Yivzori said. “On Wednesday, we need to set the pace and to get more aggressive. I believe that we will do it and that the win will be on our side.”
Hapoel Eilat comes to Haifa after tallying 95 points on Sunday (well above their season average of 82.4 points per game), 14 steals (averaged 9.2 steals per game) and only 10 turnovers, (averaged 13.0 in the regular season). Eilat’s Amit Simhon was very efficient with 17 points in 23 minutes and has played very well over his last several games.
Kevin Palmer, who returned from an injury, scored only 4 points in 33 minutes, but grabbed 9 rebounds, registered 5 steals and dished out 4 assists. Afik Nissim was outstanding from the start, finishing the game with 18 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. The last time coach Arik Shivek came to Romema, he debuted with a 87-74 victory over the Greens.