The wars off the court have been left behind, and now we want to see only one thing: good basketball, no violence in the stands. The playoff finals in the Israeli Basketball Premier League got underway tonight (Thursday), when Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv for the first of at least two derbies that will decide who will be the national champion.
For both teams, who have yet to lose in the playoffs this year, this is a return to the finals, but while the Yellows have only been absent for one year, the Reds have not reached it since 2005, when they lost to their city rivals 3-0 in the series. This is the tenth playoff final series in which the two Tel Aviv teams meet, with Maccabi winning all the previous ones, and if it does so again it will win the 56th championship in its history. Hapoel hopes to steal the home side to set up a chance to decide the series at home on Sunday, registering its sixth title in history and first since 1969.
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Oded Katsch made one change to the squad from the semi-final series against Hapoel Holon: Jerel Martin returned in place of Darren Hilliard, after recovering from foot pain. At Hapoel Tel Aviv, Danny Franco continues to bet on Jaylen Hord who was excellent in the pair of games against Hapoel Jerusalem, and JP Tokoto was subsequently left out.
Maccabi and Hapoel Tel Aviv return to the finals. Baldwin guards Timur in the last derby (Photo: Danny Maron)
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remain red: Zach Hankins extended a two-year contract at Hapoel Jerusalem
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Oded Ketch went up in the top five with Lorenzo Brown, Wade Baldwin, Jake Cohen, Bonzi Coulson and Alex Poythers. Danny Franco chose to go up with Bar Timor, Jacoben Brown, Jordan McRae, Tomer Ginat and Chinano Onuaku.
- Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball
- Hapoel Tel Aviv Basketball