In the first game of their NBA tour, Maccabi Hunter Haifa suffered a 117-78 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Maccabi had a rough night, shooting 28-93 (30.1 percent) from the field. Brandon Bowman led Haifa with 28 points on 6-of-9 shooting from downtown and Josh Smith added 18 points and 6 rebounds, while Oz Blayzer pulled down 10 rebounds in the defeat. The Jazz were paced by Alec Burks who dropped 16 points and 8 rebounds, while Derrick Favors and former Maccabi Tel Aviv player Joe Ingles added 12 points apiece. The Jazz shot 56 percent from the field on the evening.
“We are obviously not an NBA team. We came out and played hard, even though it might not have shown in the result,” said Bowman. “We are still a new team with two new additions. We still have some more time to gel with two more games against Portland and Indiana. We are going to go hard and everyone will follow. It’s a learning situation and we’ll be ready for the Israeli league.”
“Defensively, we played soft, although they are an excellent team, we should play much tougher and more aggressive,” said coach Offer Rahimi. “Offensively, we needed to share the ball much more. I hope we look better next game.”
Maccabi started Frederic Bourdillon, Luke Martinez, Willy Workman, Oz Blayzer and Josh Smith. The Jazz started with Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha, Ingles, Favors, and Rudy Gobert.
Smith gave the Greens a 2-0 lead to start the game, but that would be the only time Maccabi held a lead. Haifa trailed by 10 points at the end of the first quarter, 23-13. Utah extended the lead to 57-34 at the half. The Greens couldn’t keep up with the Jazz’s tempo as they blew past Haifa for the 39-point victory.
The Greens will fly to Miami to play St. Thomas University on Sunday, October 8 to raise funds for underprivileged children in Israel as well as Puerto Rican relief. The Greens will then fly to Indianapolis to play the Pacers on October 10 and will conclude their NBA tour against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 13 before returning to Israel.