NBA Outsourcing â€“ Week 2
It’s been somewhat of a dull week as far as Israeli based NBA players â€“ but the basketball itself was great, which allows us to take our minds off the continued farce that is the lockout.
Avery Bradley has yet to debut for Hapoel Jerusalem, as the team is trying to integrate the young guard into the European game with utmost caution. Bnei HaSharon/Washington’s Trevor Booker hasn’t played in an official game either, as he is still suffering from a thigh contusion. Booker should return to the US shortly for treatment with the hope that he will return to action as soon as possible. However, with the two sidelined players (and yours truly) in attendance, Hapoel and Bnei HaSharon produced a 99-96 overtime thriller, with the home team from Jerusalem prevailing.
Bnei HaSharon raced to a 30-15 first quarter, behind the elite gunmanship of former Baylor teammates, the awesomely named LaceDarius DunnÂ (who finished the game with 15 points and 9 boards) and the even more awesomely named Tweety Carter (24, 6 assists). However, after a passive quarter, D.J. Strawberry finally realized that he is absolutely unstoppable going to the rim. With nobody even remotely capable of matching his athleticism, Strawberry got to the rim again and again, either scoring or connecting with assists to power forward Elishai Kadir (17 and 8).
After an incredibly ballsy Kenny Lawson (22 and 9) three tied the game at 85 with 13 seconds left, Yuval Naimi had a chance to seal the game, but missed a wide open layup at the buzzer. Hapoel raced to 91-86 to start overtime, Bnei HaSharon flipped it to 93-91, but after two free throws from former NBA fringe center John Thomas (15 and 8), Strawberry knocked down a step back jumper to put Hapoel up 95-93, blocked a Tweety 3 point attempt, and the game was over a few free throws later. Other players of note were Luke Jackson, who was anemic on occasion but still hit some big shots to finish with 17 for Hapoel, and Delroy James had 18 and 8 for Bnei HaSharon.
Another tight game saw Sean Williams, Sylven Landesberg and Maccabi Haifa fall in overtime to M.C. HaBika. Deon Dowell hit the eventual game winner, and Jeremy Wise missed an awkward hook shot that could have given the game to Haifa. Landesberg had 21, 6 boards and 5 assists â€“ including a pass to a wide open Sean Williams dunk to tie the game at the end of regulation â€“ but he also had 9 (!) turnovers, including a few costly ones down the stretch. Williams had the most Sean Williams game ever, fouling out with 11 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks, and a billion bites at pump fakes.
Hapoel Holon also started their season off on a good note, beating Maccabi Rishon LeZion 87-83. Rishon led the game most of its first 3 quarters, behind an insane shooting display from former Georgetown forward Brandon Bowman (30 points on 11 (!!!!) shots, including 5 of 5 from 3) and the Wizards’ Jordan Crawford’s older brother, Joe Crawford (28 points on 15 shots). The two were on absolute fire â€“ stepbacks, contested 28 footers, banked floaters, the whole repertoire.
However, former Buckeye Ron Lewis wouldn’t let Holon lose. After starting the game with a 7 point quarter, Lewis went completely cold from the outside, so he started driving instead. Lewis got to the line with a vengeance, finishing a perfect 10 for 10 en route to 25 points. Lewis was assisted by the inside presence of Bryant Dunston and Patrick Sullivan, who combined for 26 points and, more importantly, 10 offensive boards. Young Israeli guard Shlomi Harush was a pleasant surprise as well, who threw in 6 steals and extreme amounts of hustle.
The two NBA players who did play this week were Craig Brackins and Jordan Farmar. Maccabi Ashdod and Brackins’s game wasn’t broadcast though, so I have very little observations to offer. Ashdod lost 89-79 to Ironi Ashkelon, and Brackins apparently had a tough time scoring the ball, finishing with 7 points on 3-8 shooting. He also threw in 6 boards and 4 assists for good measure.
But the true star for the losing squad was former Kentucky guard Ramel Bradley, who went off for 31. The winning squad was led by Israeli guard Raviv Limonad, returning to Israel after playing in Spain last year â€“ Limonad had a remarkable stat-line of 24 points (11-12 shooting), 8 boards, 7 assists and 8 steals.
Farmar had a rough Sunday as well, pulling his groin only 6 minutes into Maccabi’s blowout win over Hapoel Galil/Gilboa. Farmar returned to action tonight in Maccabi’s Euroleague opener against Armani Milano â€“ but he probably wishes he didn’t. Farmar had only 6 points on 9 shots in 30 minutes and looked generally terrible. Milano ran away towards an 89-82 win behind a strong third quarter showing from former Spur Malik Hairston, whose jumpers just couldn’t seem to miss. Milano also got a strong showing from everybody’s friend Danilo Gallinari, who displayed the dominant foul drawing capacities that Knicks and Nuggets fans were so happy to see him developing over the past year â€“ Gallo had 23 points, 13 of them from the line (on 16 attempts). Lior Eliyahu led Maccabi’s ranks with 23.
The lockout may try to devour our souls, but (inferior) basketball lives on. How u.