After Maccabi Hunter Haifa lost in a double OT at Holon in game one of the quarterfinals, the teams will play game two on Saturday at 9:00 p.m. at Romema.
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Despite the dramatic loss in the first game, coach Offer Rahimi can be pleased with the performances of his leading Israeli players. Amit Simhon finished the third quarter with 8 points, but in the fourth quarter and two overtime periods, he woke up to finish the night with 22 points — leading scorer for Maccabi. Captain Oz Blayzer recorded a double-double on 18 points and 10 rebounds.
John DiBartolomeo drained 5-for-8 from downtown, tallyin 19 points in 32 minutes, before fouling out. Simhon, DiBartolomeo and Blayzer are leading the Israelis among all playoff teams after the first game.
“We need to come out and play with even more intensity in game two,” DiBartolomeo said. “Holon has proven that they’re a tough team but if we put a full 40 minutes together we can protect home court and change the momentum of the series in our favor.”
Maccabi’s players took 39 shots from downtown, more than any other team in the playoff history, connecting on 28 percent, which is 10 percent below the team’s season average from three-point land. On the bright side, the Greens took 50 2-point shot making 56 percent which was above their regular season average (49.6%).
Offer Rahimi’s players showed aggressiveness on the glass, pulling down a season-high 49 rebounds, compared to 40 rebounds by Holon. However, the Greens’ aggressiveness also hurt them at the end as four players fouled out (DiBartolomeo, Blayzer, Vargas and Pinkney).
“We have to come to the second game with the same level of aggressiveness and will from the first game,” Offer Rahimi said. “I hope that this time we will get the job done in a more accurate way and will tie the series.”
Holon’s Tu Holloway put on quite a show in the first game, dropping 34 points (6-for-10 from 3-PT) and 5 assists in 37 minutes. Darion Atkins continued to dominate the Greens in the paint with a double-double on 18 points and 10 rebounds (just like Blayzer from the Green side) and Shlomi Harrush added 17 points to put Holon up 1-0 in the best-of-five series.