Maccabi outlasts Olympiacos
In a thriller that came down to the final shot, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv recorded its sixth consecutive home win in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by edging Olympiacos Piraeus 65-64 at home on Thursday. Maccabi improved to 10-12 to remain within striking distance of the playoff zone from 10th place, while Olympiacos dropped to 12-10 and sixth overall. Tarik Black led the winners with a season-high 19 points plus 7 rebounds and Scottie Wilbekin added 17 – including the go-ahead jumper with 4.4 seconds left. Nigel Williams-Goss and Vassilis Spanoulis paced Olympiacos with 16 points apiece. It was a hard-fought battle that came down to the final seconds, in which Wilbekin attacked Nikola Milutinov off a pick-and-roll switch and hit the game-winning shot. Olympiacos had a final chance, but Georgios Printezis missed a key shot.
Zach LeDay got Olympiacos going with a couple of turnaround jumpers that gave the visitors an early 2-6 lead. Williams-Goss followed a mid-range shot with a floater that prompted a Maccabi timeout at 4-10. Wilbekin took over with a wild driving basket. Williams-Goss answered with a close jumper and Printezis hit his trademark jump hook, but Black kept the hosts within 10-14. Jeremy Pargo struck from downtown, but a driving layup by Spanoulis restored a 14-16 Olympiacos lead after 10 minutes. Milutinov scored down low early in the second quarter. Wilbekin answered with a driving layup and Black split free throws. However, Printezis scored down low for a 17-20 Olympiacos lead. Williams-Goss sank consecutive floaters, but Johnny O'Bryant kept Maccabi within 20-24. Wilbekin downed a floater and a driving basket by Michael Roll tied it at 24-24. Georgios Bogris hit a baseline jumper and Janis Strelnieks finished a three-chance Olympiacos offense with a triple that made it 26-29 at halftime. O'Bryant scored in the paint soon after the break and a layup by DeAndre Kane gave Maccabi a 30-29 lead. LeDay made free throws and a fallaway jumper by Williams-Goss set a 30-33 Olympiacos lead. Wilbekin struck from beyond the arc and got help from Kane and Black to put Maccabi back ahead, 39-37. Spanoulis buried a jumper and Printezis added a layup to provide another lead change, 39-41. Black sank a jump hook, Roll added a close basket and a power layup by Alex Tyus gave Maccabi a 45-42 edge after 30 minutes. Williams-Goss followed a floater with a coast-to-coast layup to keep Olympiacos within 47-46 early in the fourth quarter. Roll rescued Maccabi with a triple that Milutinov matched with a layup-plus-foul. Spanoulis struck from downtown, but free throws by Pargo and Black kept Maccabi in charge, 55-52. Black took over with an alley-oop slam and answered Axel Toupane's triple with a dunk for a 59-55 Maccabi lead with 2:36 left. Spanoulis split free throws and a layup by Black seemed to seal the outcome, 61-56, in the next-to-last minute. Black made free throws, but Spanoulis singlehandedly kept the Reds within 63-61. Olympiacos got the ball back and Spanoulis buried a triple that hit the rim, went up and fell down with 14 seconds to go. Maccabi called timeout and Wilbekin downed a step-back jumper with 4.4 seconds left. Printezis missed a jump hook on Olympiacos's final shot.
Wilbekin became the game hero with the final basket, but Maccabi could not have won it without Black and his strong fourth quarter. Black had 10 of his 19 points in the final 7 minutes, making sure Maccabi kept the lead most of the way. He added 7 rebounds and a block for a game-high performance index rating of 23.
Maccabi led 63-58 late in the game, but back-to-back three-pointers by Spanoulis gave Olympiacos a 63-64 lead with 14 seconds remaining. Wilbekin stepped up with a step-back jumper and a final defensive stop allowed Maccabi to win the game.
Maccabi hustled hard in this game, finishing it with 6 blocks and 9 offensive rebounds. It also limited Olympiacos to low shooting percentages (48.8% 2FG, 19.2% 3FG).
Did you notice?
Spanoulis had a block against Maccabi - his 7th in his 299-game career. He blocked Michael Roll's shot with 57 seconds left in the first quarter. It was his first block in the EuroLeague since May 2015 in a Final Four semifinal against CSKA Moscow – and his first shot rejection in exactly 100 games!
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague on Thursday, February 21. Olympiacos visits Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Maccabi visits AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan in a rematch of the 1987 and 1988 EuroLeague championship games. Maccabi won its last EuroLeague title on Milan's home court, Mediolanum Forum, in 2014.
Thursday, February 7, 2019