In a season-opening shocker, Hapoel Holon upset international basketball powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv 83-73 Monday night in Holon. Tel Aviv conceded its first defeat in a season opener in 23 years.
Guni Izraeli led Holon’s shooters with 26 points, and Tel Aviv point guard Ricky Hickman put in 16 points, with four baskets from beyond the arc.
Maccabi held a five point lead over Holon at the half, and kept its distance over Hapoel through the third quarter. Holon then outshot Maccabi 22-8 in the final quarter to upset the league powerhouse by a comfortable margin.
Tel Aviv coach David Blatt said after the loss that “there were several things that stopped the momentum. We had too hard a time throwing in from out of bounds, and when the ball doesn’t come in time after time, you lose momentum and confidence.”
“It’s not good to lose, but you need to know to look at the bigger picture,” Blatt said. “The season’s just started.”
Elsewhere in the league, Hapoel Jerusalem lost to Maccabi Ashdod 83-80.