Maccabi Hunter Haifa (15-17) will host Hapoel Tel Aviv (14-18) on Monday at 8:40 p.m. in the decisive final regular season game which will determine if the Greens make the playoffs.
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In order to make it to the playoffs, Offer Rahimi’s players will need to accomplish one of two scenarios: (1) Defeat Hapoel Tel Aviv, or (2) lose by up to 20 points to Hapoel Tel Aviv and hope Holon will defeat Gilboa/Galil. A loss by more than 20, or a loss and a win by Gilboa/Galil will leave Maccabi out of the playoffs. There is also a possibility to finish seventh place, if Maccabi will win the game and Rishon Lezion will lose to Herzliya at home.
There are a few players in Green that are the barometer of the team. Captain Oz Blayzer, for example, is averaging 13.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in wins, comparing to 9.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in losses. Amit Simhon also plays better when the team wins, posting 16.5 points in victories, to just 11.9 points in defeats. The Green point guard, Gregory Vargas doesn’t score much more in wins (16.4 comparing to 14.1 in losses), but he does distribute the ball more in victories (7.9 assists) to only 5.1 assists in losses. Vargas is expected to win the Assists King of the season this Tuesday, dishing out a league-leading 6.6 dimes per game.
“It’s one game we have to win,” said Vargas. “We’ll have to be focused and execute for 40 minutes. Playing at home, with our fans pushing us at Romema, is huge for us. We have to finish the night with a ticket to the playoffs.”
Coming to Shock the Greens
Roy Hagai’s Hapoel Tel Aviv team are coming to Romema with slim chances of qualifying for the playoffs. They need to beat the Greens by at least 21 points and hope that Gilboa/Galil will lose to Holon at home. Last week, they won after six straight losses, defeating Ashdod 91-86 in Tel Aviv. The best player on the floor was Mark Lyons, tallying 30 points and 9 assists in 32 minutes and Tomer Ginat was also solid with 12 points in 25 minutes.
The last time the Reds from Tel Aviv and the Greens from the Carmel played one another was in the beginning of the second round, which finished with a 82-77 Green victory. Two of the best players in that game, Darrel Williams (25 points) and Alex Perez (21 points), are no longer playing on the team.