Maccabi Hunter Haifa (14-13) will travel to face Maccabi Tel Aviv (17-10) on Thursday at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Sport5.
Getting Back on Track
Offer Rahimi’s Greens would like to forget the last game against Ashdod and to continue the hot streak they were on prior to last week (winning 7 out of 9 games). Against Ashdod, the Greens struggled from long distance, connecting on just 8 of a season-high 36 attempts (22%). John DiBartolomeo was 0-for-5 and Amit Simhon was 0-for-6 from downtown. Captain Oz Blayzer recorded his fifth double-double this season against Ashdod on 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“We are about to face a tough game on the road. We want to get back on the winning track as we had a good run before the last game,” Simhon said. “We are coming to give a hard fight and I hope to see our Green fans at Tel Aviv.”
Five players in Green & White participated in the All-Star Game on Monday night in Tel Aviv.
Orlando Mendez-Valdez and Simhon took part in the 3-point shooting contest, Daniel Koperberg competed in the Slam Dunk contest, and Vargas and Blayzer played in the game.
Mendez-Valdez defeated Mark Lyons in the first round of the competition, and outperformed Jonathan Skjoldebrand in the final to win the 3-point shooting title.
Vargas played 20 minutes in the game for the Imports team, tallying 10 points and 6 assists. Blayzer played 13 minutes for the Israelis and scored 4 points. Koperberg didn’t make it to the Slam Dunk contest final, but he performed one impressive dunk, which earned him 38 points from the referees.
After the loss to Ashdod, the Greens are now in sixth place — two wins shy of fourth place, but 2 losses away from tenth place. After the game at Tel Aviv, Haifa will host Holon (Friday, April 28 at 3:45 p.m. – purchase tickets here). The Greens’ remaining regular season schedule is a tough one. The Greens will host home games against Eilat and Hapoel Tel Aviv as well as road games against Jerusalem and Herzliya.
“We are fighting for a playoff spot right now. Every game is important and every win is critical,” head coach Offer Rahimi said. “We’ll need to make sure we learned from our mistakes from last the game against Ashdod.”
The Yellows come into the game after four straight league losses (which dropped them to third place), at home to Holon and to Eilat and on the road to Jerusalem and Herzliya. The Yellow roster will be limited due to the injuries of Yogev Ohayon, D.J Seeley and Andrew Goudelock. The team decided to register forward Quincy Miller, and in his first game against Jerusalem, he was held scoreless in 12 minutes.
Jerusalem defeated Tel Aviv 65-57 in the last game, and the leading scorer in Yellow was the Greens former star, Gal Mekel who scored 22 points in 36 minutes. Besides Mekel, Victor Rudd was the only other player to score in double figures (11). Rudd is averaging 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 25.2 minutes
Greens vs. Yellow
Will Graves will look to repeat his last performance against Tel Aviv where he scored 34 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in 32 minutes.
Both games between Haifa and Tel Aviv finished in dramatic fashion. In the first game at Romema, the Yellows won 83-81 and in the second game, Tel Aviv edged Haifa 97-96 at their Arena.
If the Greens are going to earn a victory on Thursday at Tel Aviv, they will make history. In 56 chances, the Greens have yet to win a regular season game at Tel Aviv’s arena in their franchise history.