The last thing Hapoel Jerusalem needs at the moment is a visit to Yad Eliyahu Arena, but that is exactly what it will need to contend with on Sunday night when it faces Maccabi Tel Aviv on the road in BSL action (live on Sport5 at 9:10 p.m.).
Any illusion that the arrival of new coach Oded Katash would magically solve all of Hapoel’s problems was quickly dispelled with a humbling 78-66 home defeat to Bnei Herzliya last Sunday. Jerusalem fell to an 11-7 record, losing for the fifth time in six games over all competitions.
Hapoel has beaten Maccabi is six of their last eight regular season meetings, but lost in its only visit to the yellow-and-blue at Yad Eliyahu last season.
Maccabi also fell in its most recent BSL game, losing at home to Ironi Ness Ziona last Sunday to drop to 14-4.
All four of Tel Aviv’s league defeats have come at home.
However, the yellow-and-blue enters Sunday’s showdown on the back of an encouraging Euroleague victory at Efes Istanbul on Thursday and will want to remain neck-and-neck with the surging Hapoel Holon.
Holon, which moved tied with Maccabi at 14-4 last week, visits Ironi Ness Ziona earlier Sunday. Holon has won five games in a row, scoring over 100 points in three of them. Dan Shamir’s side was almost unstoppable in last week’s 105-88 win over Maccabi Ashdod, hitting 27-of-33 two-point attempts (81.8%), the highest percentage registered by a team since the 2004/05 campaign.