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Maccabi coming to the Mecca

Israel’s elite basketball team is coming to New York.Maccabi Tel Aviv will face the Knicks Oct. 11 at Madison Square Garden in the NBA team’s preseason opener. Proceeds from the game will benefit Migdal Ohr, which provides services for thousands of needy and immigrant children in Israel.”This game will provide us with the unique opportunity to play a quality opponent while benefiting a worthwhile cause,” Isiah Thomas, the Knicks’ head coach, said in a statement. Maccabi Tel Aviv has won 47 national championships and five European cups since 1997. The team, a major source of pride for Israelis, was the first to beat an NBA team in North America and defeated the Toronto Raptors in 2005. Thomas said the Knicks have been working on playing the Israeli team for two years. Maccabi Tel Aviv “has demonstrated the ability to compete with teams in the NBA; we look forward to the match-up.”Thomas said that when he visited Israel while playing for the Detroit Pistons in 1988, he left a note in the Western Wall asking for the Pistons to win the NBA championship – and they did in two consecutive seasons.

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