The defensive game is also represented in the Basketball Champions League Final Four, the best defense of the competition, Hapoel Bank Jerusalem is here, and the team is at their first Final Four.
In the main groups, they were in Group E, along with Darussafaka, Riesen Ludwigsburg and Bakken Bears, their only defeat was at home with Riesen Ludwigsburg 80-71. Of the 5 victories that secured the group win, only one was in double digits, in the last round with Darussafaka 92-69. Qualified in the Round of 16 in Group I along with JDA Dijon, Hapoel Holon and SIG Strasbourg, they started with a defeat at home with JDA Dijon 84-77 followed by 5 victories but most of them by small margins, the most significant difference was in the match with Hapoel Holon 77-65 from home. In the Quarter-Finals, a defensive battle followed with AEK, managing to hold their opponents to 55 and 51 points in the home matches, losing away after receiving 94 points.
Their strong point is also a real weakness, their whole game revolves around the four players, and the reserves are not at all close to the value of the starters. Levi Randolph 15 ppg, 4 reb, 2.5 ast; Zach Hankins 13.3 ppg, 8.3 reb; Khadeen Carrington 12.4 ppg, 2 reb, 2.8 ast and Speedy Smith 10.7 ppg, 2.9 reb, 5.9 ast are the four players who put their shoulders to this qualification in the Final Four, Zach Hankins being also the MVP of March.
Unfortunately, Hapoel seems to be the team with the lowest chances for the trophy although they have the best defense, all the other couples have a lot of offensive quality to break such a defense with a short rotation. But it can be a dark horse, considering the outstanding defense that has lasted until now, that they have become an expert in winning balanced matches and that the four magnificent need only two more victories for a dream season.
Photo credit: Basketball Champions League