Maccabi Hunter Haifa have their backs against the wall as they host Maccabi Rishon Lezion tomorrow (Friday) at 4:30 p.m. at RK Arena trailing 0-2 in the best of five quarterfinals series. After two straight loses Rishon LeZion, the Greens face elimination in game three.
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Although, game two against Rishon finished as an 18 point loss, 89-71, it was a three point game with 5:47 left when Reggie Buckner scored 2 points to cut it to 70-67. However, the athletic Rishon squad ensued on a 19-4 run to win the game.
Three Green players scored in double figures, led by Reggie Buckner, who played 28 minutes (season high) while tallying 17 points and 8 rebounds. Oz Blayzer was hot from the first minute, contributing 14 points and 6 rebounds. Gregory Vargas netted 16 points and added 6 assists.
“I believe in the players and the team and I am convinced we can win the upcoming game,” coach Rami Hadar said before the game.
A player who struggled to follow up a great game one performance was Will Graves, who scored 3 points, and for the first time since week 22, he finished with a negative VAL (-3).
Thus far in the series, the Greens have struggled from beyond the arc, connecting on only 22.4% , compared to 34.2% in the regular season. John DiBartolomeo has made only 3-of-20 (11.8%) from downtown in the series
“Tomorrow’s game is huge — it’s a do or die game. We need everybody to come out,” Chanan Colman said. “We have to take it one game at a time. We all definitely believe we can do it.”
Rishon Lezion are looking to repeat what they did last year when they eliminated Hapoel Holon. Shawn Dawson had a great game for Shivek’s team and after scoring only 8 points in the first game. He was on fire in the second game, posting 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. The 3 Americans of Rishon dominated once again. Lyons tallied 19 points and 5 assists, Wright scored 16 points and Monroe registered 13 points and 8 rebounds.