Monday, 31 October 2011

Game 3: @ Holon

Last night we traveled to Holon for week 3 of the season. Was raining in Herzliya when we left... hadn't seen that in a while. Anyways, Holon has notoriously crazy fans, supposedly the best fans in the league. They don't have alot of ingenuity with their heckling... more just a bunch of assholes. The fans are pretty close to the bench and could be heard yelling things like "fuck you _____" to whoever was in ear shot.... or chanting in Hebrew that someone was a son of a bitch. Anyways to the game: we started off slow and they started off great. This one guy Sullivan had a craaazy dunk. Video game athleticism. They were making literally everything and we were shooting pretty badly. Also our transition defense was pretty much nonexistent as we gave up a million fast break points. Long story short by halftime the score was something like 60-36...

Things only got worse from there. Holon continued to make shots and abuse us in the half court. The final score was 119- 80 or something.... ridiculous score. It was shockingly embarrassing. There's almost nothing to say... it couldn't have gone worse.

Today in practice (which is usually just a recovery/shooting practice) we did some defensive drills as punishment/reminder i guess of the game. Didn't even bring the balls onto the court. Tomorrow we have the day off. Gotta just get ready for Sunday and our next game at home against Rishon LeZion

Game 2: vs. Haifa

In our second league game, and home opener, we faced Maccabi Haifa. A talented team with lots of good players... but very bad chemistry and attitude. It was a back and forth game for the most part. They started very strong and had a ten point lead for much of the first half. In the second half we closed the gap and it became a real battle. In the fourth quarter we finally took the lead and Haifa ended up folding, allowing us to pull out our first win. I only played around 9 minutes I think and didn't do a hell of a lot. Got to see a friend of mine Simon Farine from Toronto who's playing for Haifa this year.


Purely basketball related post. Scouting the opposing team is obviously a big part of basketball... and it becomes even bigger when you're only playing once a week. Every game is so important. In college we would watch video of the other teams players/plays the day before a game and then defend some of their plays on the court in practice. Here it's kind of similar but taken to another level. Because we mostly play on Sundays, this is how the schedule would look. Thursday before practice we'll watch a half of most likely the last game our opponent played. Don't really talk about anything just watch them play. Then during practice we'll go over one or two of their set plays a bit.

Friday we'll watch film on the individual players in the team's rotation. We'll also get a scouting booklet that has all of the team statistics in wins, losses, overall, and in comparison to the rest of the league. The booklet also has a summary of information for each player. Once again, during practice we'll go over some of their plays and defend them.

Finally, on saturday we'll watch film on the set plays of the other team and once again defend their plays in practice. As you can see we spend a sizable amount of time on scouting and watching/learning about the opposing team. Can be boring sometimes but it helps if you really watch.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Season opener @ Hapoel Jerusalem

On Monday we started our season at Hapoel Jerusalem, notoriously crazy fans and supposedly the second best team in the league usually. The fans were pretty crazy... In Europe whistling = booing so when things get heated the crowd starts whistling. A couple times during the game it was pretty deafening. Anyways we started out the game on fire and carried a 10 point lead into the half. The third quarter didnt start out very well and Jerusalem closed the gap on us. In the fourth quarter they went up a couple points but it was a back and forth game with a number of lead changes. With the game nearing its end we were down three with the ball. We ran a sideline inbounds play and our new foreigner, Kenny Lawson Jr, got a shot off with 5 seconds left that tied the game at 85 (i think). On the ensuing Jerusalem possession their Israeli PG drove the lane for a seemingly wide open layup... but botched it so we went to OT. In OT it was more of the same. I had a chance to put us up two but missed a shot in the paint, then they scored and we ended up having to foul. Final score was 98-95 i think. It was a tough game and one we probably should have one. I played 20 minutes and finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds... not a very impressive game and I was disappointed with the way I played. But we have another game this Sunday so time to just get ready for that

Poland.... finally

Yeah I know I've been slacking harrrd on this. We got back from Poland like two weeks ago so here's the story.

So we headed to the airport at 3am Friday morning... Yeah, 3am. Our flight was at 6am. Needless to say it was a tiring day. We flew to Warsaw, had a couple hours lay over and then flew to Gdansk where we got a bus to our hotel. Hotel was nice enough I guess, except the beds were tiiiiiny. My roommate was another Israeli, Roi Buchbinder. Nice guy, quiet though. Here's a view of the hotel:

In the actual tournament we played two Polish teams... I'm blanking on the names right now. In our first game we played badly and lost by like 15. I fouled out in like 6 minutes. It was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. Crazy. Anyways, in our second game we were winning, but they forced overtime and we ended up losing. I played well and ended up with 16 points and 7 rebounds I think. Booker got hurt before the games and the flight aggravated his injury so he didn't play... so I got to play alot which was sweet. Anyways we went 0-2 but the basketball wasn't such a big deal. The gym was craaaazy by the way. A legit stadium:

The trip was mostly for the team to get to know each other better and become closer... which we did. We all went out Sunday night to a club and had a good time. The nice area of town was actually pretty cool with alot of bars and clubs around.

We flew back monday evening and got back to tel-aviv at like 2am. It was a tiring trip but we all had a good time and were ready to get started with the season.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Yom Kippur

I've been slacking on the blog lately. Poland update to come.

But this past friday night marked the beginning of Yom Kippur (aka the day of atonement)... it's basically the biggest/most sacred Jewish holiday where you're not supposed to eat or drink for 25 hours and pray for forgiveness for all your sins of the last year. In Israel it's a national holiday and the country pretty much shuts down. No one is allowed to drive cars, play loud music, or disturb the general peace and quiet that takes over. It was a really cool and different experience being here for it. Friday night I ate the pre-fast meal at one of my teammates houses. Then, after everyone goes to synagogue, the streets are filled with people just hanging out. No cars in sight, just people walking everywhere. I snagged a picture of the area near the city centre:

Anyways a bunch of guys from the team were in this area hanging out, people watching, and talking to some people. It was a really cool experience. It's crazy how quiet it gets everywhere, you can hear peoples voices carrying from very far away. Saturday night the fast ended at around 6pm and we had a practice later on at 830. Last week before the season starts... Poland pics coming soon

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Rosh Hashanah with the fams

aka Jewish new years for you heathen reading this. We had an afternoon practice on Wednesday shortly after which I headed to Jerusalem to the family's. When I got there we hung out for a bit and then all headed out to my uncle's brother's house near the more southern city of Ashkelon like an hour away. Lucky me I just beat the rush going to Jerusalem because while we were driving away from the city there was approximately half of israel driving in. Dinner in Ashkelon was really good. There were like 15 people there probable, a bunch of kids and babies too so it was pretty fun. Played a bunch of games with them and ate alot of good food.

Thursday we just hung out at my family's place. Some of their family friends came over for lunch and we had a barbeque, which was awesome. I miss having barbeque like 6 times a week at home in the summer haha. Headed back to Herzliya a little bit later to pack and get ready for our team trip to Poland... More on that to come