Maccabi Hunter Haifa (2-4) host Maccabi Ashdod (3-3) on Monday at 7:45 p.m. at Romema Arena in the seventh game of the Winner Leauge. The Greens are looking for their second win at home after suffering a tough loss on the road at Holon last week. Ashdod is coming off an impressive victory at home last week over Hapoel Jerusalem.
Last Monday, Maccabi blew a 15-point halftime lead, eventually succumbing to Holon, 80-75. Three Green players scored in double-digits with Will Graves leading the way with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Graves has yet to show consistency this season, averaging 8.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 25.5 minutes.
“Ashdod is a talented team, which earned an impressive win last week,” head coach Offer Rahimi said. “On our side, we will have to give it our all in order to protect our house.”
Point guard Alex Perez dropped 16 points and dished out 5 assists last week at Holon, while Amit Simhon added 13 points and 6 rebounds — his sixth game in a row with 12 or more points. Simhon lead the league among Israelis with an average of 14.0 points per game. For the second straight game, Mendez-Valdez did not cross the double-digits mark, scoring 8 points at Holon
“Monday’s game is another opportunity to prove to ourselves that we are much better than our record,” Mendez-Valdez said. “This is a must win for our organization.”
In order to win the game, the Greens will need their Captain, Oz Blayzer, to shine. Maccabi’s forward leads the league in free throw percentage as he hasn’t missed a shot from the foul line (22-of-22) all season. In the two games the Greens won, Blayzer was the best on the court, scoring 16 points against Kiryat Gat and 19 points against Nahariya. On the team side, the Greens will have to put up a strong second half, as they outscore their opponents by an average of 8.5 points (first in the league) in the first-half, but in the second-half, the Greens are being outscored by 7.5 points per game (last in the league).
Ashdod is coming to Romema Arena after a surprising 70-57 win over the runner-ups Hapoel Jerusalem. The leading scorers of the game were Coach Meir Tapiro’s Israeli roster as Adam Ariel celebrated against his former team with 18 points, and Jake Cohen, another former Jerusalem player, scored 17 points and 9 rebounds. Former Green guard, Yiftach Ziv, also had a strong performance with 15 points. Ashdod’s Israelis are contributing the most points in the league, as they score 44.3 points — 60.6% of the team’s total points scored per game.