Hapoel Tel Aviv fans march before the playoff final (Or Shkedi)
After a long season, which began somewhere in training at the end of August, Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday night came just one victory away from winning the national championship after a year-long break. The Yellows beat Hapoel Tel Aviv 79:90 in a one-sided game, and will try to complete the task this Sunday at Hapoel's home arena.
Maccabi dominated the game from the first quarter, where they rose to a double-digit lead early on, and despite some repetition, held a solid lead throughout. The Yellows dominated the rebounding without question, with 16 offensive rebounds out of 37 under the basket, and prevented the Reds' transition game with only 8 turnovers. Five players scored in double figures, but the best player was Jake Cohen with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, in an exemplary game.
"Our offensive and defensive play in transition was key. They're one of the best teams in the league in transition, we did a very good job with that, the second thing in rebounding, Roman and Jake took offensive rebounds and it meant a lot to us," said Jerrell Martin, who returned from injury, "I struggled with a little injury, but I feel better, it felt great to be together with the team, and to fight for a title is great. It's a blessing to be in this situation, we're one game away from the title, we have to keep fighting."
Received the most praise. Jake Cohen (Photo: Liron Moldovan)
Maccabi Tel Aviv broadcast to the players at the end of the game that despite the victory, and the fact that they are perfect in the playoffs, Sunday's game at the Shlomo Arena may be a different opera, "This is the only hall in the league that we did not win this season," said one Maccabi official, "There will be a hostile atmosphere there, let's hope that sportsmanship as well, we have to be ready and strong in our heads in a game like this."
Maccabi refused to comment on the possibility of holding the hoisting ceremony outside the Shlomo Hall if they win on Sunday, "We don't know of such cases from the world, but we will wait to hear from the manager or the police," the club said. By the way, Maccabi has never won a championship in the home arena of its great rival, and apart from Yad Eliyahu it celebrated championships outdoors at Gan Nahum Hall in Rishon LeZion and Metrowest in Ra'anana.
- Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball
- Oded Katsch