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Holon is in trouble: Maccabi Tel Aviv has a lot to lose in the playoff semi-finals - voila! sport


Highlights: Maccabi Tel Aviv will play with three guards for only the second time this season. The decision to go with Darren Hilliard instead of Jerel Martin does not necessarily indicate the future. Oded Katsch will continue to coach the team next season, effectively eliminating the clause according to which only winning the championship would lead to his stay. Maccabi's tendency is to exercise Martin's option for another season, while Hilliard is expected to leave in light of his high salary (about $800,0) compared to his marginal position.

The decision to go with Hilliard instead of Martin does not necessarily indicate the future. Baldwin proved to be "one of the players you want with you." Ketch has been given peace and security, but knows how fragile they are

Ticked: Sports Events Summary Clip, May 29 (Sports5)

1. Going with the three guards for only the second time

On the eve of Shavuot, Maccabi Tel Aviv received the news that Jerel Martin's foot sensitivity, which caused him to be absent from the victory over Hapoel Be'er Sheva the night before, was not significant. The Yellows breathed a sigh of relief when they realized that the forward could be at Oded Ketch's disposal in the series against Hapoel Holon. On the face of it, with the impending return of Wade Baldwin, the team was left with only one drawback - that of Josh Nivo.

Only once this season has Maccabi placed the three foreign guards in a league match. It happened in the first round, and since then there hasn't been a situation where Baldwin, Lorenzo Brown and Darren Hilliard have played together; Tonight (Tuesday, 21 p.m.) they will do it for the second time, in the opening round of the playoff semifinals, after difficult deliberations. The original thought was to leave Hilliard off the roster, but when Martin again began to suffer from sensitivity, the die was cast.

Can the positive trend still keep him at Maccabi Tel Aviv? Darren Hilliard (Photo: Liron Moldovan)

From the outset, Holon doesn't have a particularly busy front line, and it too left out Javin DeLaurier. Maccabi Tel Aviv will pit its full battery of guards against Joe Ragland, Sean Dawson and their friends, and appears for this series with quite a few concerns in light of the peak form that the champions have entered in recent times.

Maccabi's tendency is to exercise Martin's option for another season, while Hilliard, whose status has only recently strengthened, is expected to leave in light of his high salary (about $800,0) compared to his relatively marginal position. The club says the trend has not changed, but one team member said last night that "until you exercise an option or leave it, everything is open."

The second change in Maccabi's squad is the return of Baldwin, who was injured in the derby against Hapoel Tel Aviv in the upper group finale. It's not a significant injury, but it does limit him. His forced bench in the quarterfinals against Hapoel Be'er Sheva automatically led to a decline in team ability, with Brown taking on more only in the away game, and throughout the series Maccabi did not look good. Baldwin was kept on standby, and the team speculated that if the series got complicated, he would be called up to the roster — but once they took a 2-<> lead, they saw no need to dress him.

Baldwin returned to full training earlier this week. Maccabi say he can play, but no one will say that the injury is completely behind him. "At this stage of the season, players show up with things like that, at least the players you want to have with you," the team described. "Wade doesn't want to end this season without a title"

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No one will say that the injury is completely behind him. Wade Baldwin (Photo: Danny Maron)

2. Results in June and Effects in November

Even before the start of the series against Be'er Sheva, Maccabi Tel Aviv announced that Oded Katsch would continue to coach the team next season, effectively eliminating the clause according to which only winning the championship would lead to his stay. The Yellows wanted to send a message of confidence in the coach, who led them to a good European season.

Katsch has a record of 13 wins against four losses in playoff series. The balance sheet is particularly impressive in light of the fact that until last week he did not coach Maccabi in the series, and spent most of the series outside Hapoel Jerusalem as well. His only losses in those positions were with Hapoel Eilat and Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Ketch comes into the championship fight with confidence in his ability, confidence in the team's ability and now job security for next season. Although Maccabi Tel Aviv refuses to admit it, a loss in the semi-finals or final will bring him to start next season in a problematic stock situation. A similar situation happened to Guy Goodes in 2015/16 and Neven Spahia in 2018/19, who remained despite losing the championship – and were sacked in November.

If Ketch is up to the task, he will be able to enter next season in excellent shape, and his status will be strong and stable, similar to Giannis Spropoulos after the 2019/20 season.

Looks exhausted from the past year, and it will only get worse this summer. Lorenzo Brown in front of Holon (Photo: Bernie Ardov)

3. Three consecutive years of basketball?

After his disappointing play-off series against Monaco, and especially the fifth game in which he recorded a dud display, quite a few glances are directed at Lorenzo Brown. The point guard will want to finish the season with a championship so that these looks do not move to the stage of talking, but even if mishaps happen, he has a guaranteed contract at Maccabi Tel Aviv for two more years (with an option for another season).

Maccabi Tel Aviv is looking with concern not only at the ability of an exhausted Brown at the end of this season, after winning the EuroBasket with Spain last summer, but also at what is to come. He is due to appear at the World Cup this summer, and even if he does not already make it to the start of preparation, he will start next season in early August. Under the reasonable assumption that his team will also qualify for the Olympic Games, in the summer of 2024 he may rest for only two weeks, and all this when he turns 33 in two months.

The yellows are awaiting developments. The team said that they believe strongly in the player's ability and commitment to Maccabi, and that by the summer things may change, both from his direction and from the Spanish national team.

  • sport
  • basketball


  • Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball
  • Hapoel Holon

Source: walla

All sports articles on 2023-05-30

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