Adam HaluskaThe Israeli Cup holder, Hapoel Jerusalem, started the preparation games with home defeat to Samara, 93-94 in a real thriller. It was all the visitors in the first half, while Eric Hicks and Mladen scored every position to put Samara in double-digits again, 20-8 and 28-16 after 10 minutes.

Three triples by Bowers, Naimi and Clark on his precedence in "Malcha", cut the arrears to 43-52 at half time. Much better defense, and some nice moves by Omar Sneed, brought the home side closer only 73-72 to Samara.

Jerusalem went ahead to 81-77 in the 4th quarter, but 9-0 run by Perry Marque, regive Samara the lead. The visitors had 92-85 up, 1:30 to go, but great finish by Adam Haluska witj 8 consecutively points, made it 93-92 to Jerusalem. Without going out in 5 fouls, Guy Goodes, JM head coach was deceived and ask to make foul, 5 sec to go, but it was over the team fouls level, and Mladen made 2 from 2 to win the game to Samara.

Both teams will face again on Sunday, while on Wednesday, Samara and Rishon Letion equall 80-80, after Robert Conley with an amazing performance included 35 point, brought Rishon from 24 points deficit.

Samara: Mladen 20, Sergay 19 and Hicks 17.
Jerusalem: Bowers 22, Sneed 19 and Haluska 17.