Maccabi Hunter Haifa (12-12) will host Maccabi Rishon Lezion (11-13) on Monday at 7:20 p.m. at Romema. The Greens are eager to bounce back from a road loss at Nahariya, while Rishon is coming into the contest after snapping their four-game losing streak with a blowout home win over Jerusalem last week.
Back to the Court
Offer Rahimi’s Greens return to action after 8 days off since their 78-69 loss to Nahariya last Saturday. The Greens suffered their worst performance from 2-point range, connecting on only 31% of their attempts against Nahariya. The last time Haifa scored less than 40% occurred against Hapoel Holon on the road (38% from 2-PT). On top of the poor shooting night from inside, the Greens’ Israelis combined for only 19 points, which hurt Haifa considering the Israeli players average a combined 37.8 PPG.
Despite a lukewarm game of 7 points and 6 rebounds, Amit Simhon still leads the Winner league among Israeli players with 14.9 points per game. Tomorrow, he will face his runner-up, Shawn Dawson from Rishon, who is averaging 14.6 points per night.
“Rishon is a good team with a strong Israeli roster,” head coach Offer Rahimi said. “They changed the team since our last meeting with them a month ago. I am sure it’s going to be a battle tomorrow at Romema.”
Three players to mention
Only three Greens scored in double figures against Nahriya. Will Graves continued his amazing shooting from long distance, scoring 20 points on 5-for-7 from downtown, along with a season-high 9 rebounds. Graves is averaging an impressive 17.5 points over his last six games, and an outstanding 72.4% (21-for-29) from three-point land over his last five games.
Gregory Vargas scored 12 points against Nahariya and has now played in over 50% of the team’s games, making him eligible for the league’s stats leaders. The Green point guard is leading the league in assists (6.4) and in minutes (35.0). Vargas is fourth in the league with a VAL (18.6) and fifth in steals (1.8).
Orlando Mendez-Valdez returned to the court after missing two weeks with an injury. He struggled in the first half, but in the second, he found his stroke en route to a15 point performance in 22 minutes of action.
“We are up for a big challenge. We need to have a good start in order to win,” Mendez-Valdez said. “This can be a dangerous team if we let them get comfortable, and we to need to make sure we prevent that from happening.”
Maccabi Rishon comes to Romema with a smile on their faces after handing a 24-point beatdown of Jerusalem at home, 83-59. This win came just in time for Rishon as they had lost their previous four games. Their new point guard, Cameron Long, scored 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, in his third game with the team.
Long is not the only new player on Rishon, swingman J.J. Moore signed with the team, replacing center Javon McCrea. Moore came from the D-League’s Long Island Nets where he averaged 14.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game. Rishon’s Israeli point guard, and Green’s former captain, Avi Ben Shimol, returned after he was out for 3 games because of injury, tallying 12 points and 7 assists (and 6 turnovers), in 32 minutes on the court.