After two consecutive losses, Hapoel Tel Aviv came back to itself tonight (Sunday) and hugely dismantled Hapoel Haifa 71:92 in the 21st round of the Winner Basket League at Heichal Shlomo, came close to its promise in the upper house and made a clear statement of intent for the rest of the season.
The game opened very close when the two teams were inaccurate and had a very hard time scoring simple baskets. As the minutes passed, Hapoel Tel Aviv was the first to get into things thanks to the excellent ability of its biggest star, James Young, who already led it to a double-digit advantage in the second quarter. As befits a huge battle for the playoffs, the players of both teams recorded an extraordinary fighting game, which slightly exceeded the boundaries after clashes between Tokoto and Allen.
Tokoto also confronted Reiman and the two suffered a technical foul. This offense cost Reiman dearly, when he later suffered an unsportsmanlike offense and was sent off. Haifa’s troubles continued when Spencer Weiss was injured and taken to hospital. Precisely from this low spot, Haifa returned to the game thanks to the excellent ability of James Anis and Igor Nesterenko, who led a tremendous comeback, and thanks to three consecutive threes at the end of the second quarter, the teams went down 42:42 at the break.
The third quarter started close and the advantage moved to a side position mainly thanks to Kadim Allen, who recorded a great game which he finished with 22 points. Bar Timor was the man who brought the change to the game and with five consecutive points returned the host to a double-digit advantage.
Timur recorded an outstanding game when he finished with 21 points, but the man of the match was James Young, who finished as an MVP with 24 points, seven rebounds and a 17-point plus while on the floor in favor of Danny Franco’s side. The host had already reached its peak of 23 points when the guest in the last minutes just wanted the game to end, revenge in Haifa for the previous loss in the game between the teams and recorded an important victory that is all a statement of intent for the rest of the season.
Scored for Hapoel Tel Aviv: James Young 24, Bar Timor 21, Josh Evans 15, Idan Zalmanson and Paul Stoll 10 each, JP Tokoto 5, Igor Kolshov 4 and Gil Benny 3.
Scored for Hapoel Haifa: Kadim Allen 22, James Dickie 13, James Anis 11, Igor Nesterenko 10, Amit Simhon 9, Gregory Vargas 4 and Noam Ben Harush 2.
First quarter: 18:20
Hapoel Tel Aviv Quintet: JP Tokoto, Paul Stoll, Gil Benny, James Young and Idan Zalmanson.
Hapoel Haifa Quintet: Kadim Allen, James Ennis, Amit Simhon, Gregory Vargas and James Dickie.
James Dickie scored the first four points of the game. Young and Zalmanson scored after an Anis basket and it was 4: 6 for Haifa. Young completed a three-point move and put Hapoel Tel Aviv ahead for the first time tonight. Ennis returned the advantage to Haifa. Tokoto with two plots equaled the result. Young scored two from the line and put the host up for a two-point lead, the great Alan continued the chase between the teams and equalized. Evans got into things with a beautiful basket, Timur stitched a tremendous three and it’s five for the host. Ennis scored a huge three of his own and shrank to three. Allen penetrated the basket more easily, scored two and shrank to two, Evans returned the advantage to four, but Allen sealed the quarter with two points.
Second quarter: 42:42
Tokoto scored two nice points, Evans snatched a ball, went all the way to the basket and put Hapoel Tel Aviv to a six-point advantage. The mighty James Young stitched a huge three and raised Hapoel Tel Aviv to its record advantage tonight so far – nine points. Tokoto and Reiman clashed and the two suffered a technical foul. Bar Timor stitched another huge three and raised Hapoel Tel Aviv to a double-digit lead of 11 points, Nesterenko returned with a move of three points and shrank to eight.
Reiman suffered an unsportsmanlike offense and was sent off. Stoll returned the host to a double-digit advantage. Nesterenko took advantage of a wonderful assist from Simhon and shrank to seven. Benny scored two from the line and returned for nine. Kadim Allen stitched a huge three and shrank to six, Young scored from the side and raised the host to eight. Vargas and Simhon sewed the two more threes in a row and Nesterenko equalized.
Third quarter: 55:68 to Hapoel Tel Aviv
Bar Timor scored the first two points of the half, Nesterenko responded immediately with two of his own and it’s a tie again. Kadim Allen stitched a huge three and it’s three in favor of the guest, Zalmanson finally scored two points after his endless fouls and that’s a point for Haifa. Evans with a mighty dunk put the host back in the lead. Kadim Allen, who gets huge boos whenever he touches the ball, continued his tremendous game and returned the advantage to Haifa, Zalmanson kept getting into the rhythm and equalizing again.
A huge three by Paul Stoll opened a gap of three points in favor of Hapoel Tel Aviv, Timur scored a great three of his own, bounced the thousands of fans in Heichal Shlomo and it is already six in favor of the host. Bar Timor scored two points with another wonderful offensive action and returned Hapoel Tel Aviv to a double-digit advantage of 10 points. Evans scored one of the most beautiful dunks this season, Paul Stoll stitched a huge three and raised Hapoel Tel Aviv to its record advantage so far tonight – 13 points.
Fourth quarter: 71:92 to Hapoel Tel Aviv
Allen scored two formidable points on Evans, added a point from the line after Hapoel Tel Aviv’s third foul tonight and shrank to 10. Timur with a big basket returned to 12th. Amit Simhon scored two points from the line and shrank to eight. James Young with a crazy basket in the pig round for 10. James Young continued in his heyday, scoring a basket from the movies and raising the Reds to 12th. James Young again scored a basket of impossible difficulty, added a point from the line and after Haifa shrank to eight, returned the advantage to 12. By the end the host continued to dismantle the guest and had already reached a 23-point lead on the way to a particularly important victory.