Maccabi Electra outlasts Panathinaikos
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv held on for a 73-70 victory over rival Panathinaikos Athens at Menora Mivtachim Arena. The result broke a tie between the teams for second place in Group E; Maccabi improved to 6-2, while Panathinaikos fell to 5-3. The Greens, who beat Maccabi by 7 in Athens in the Top 16 opener, protected that difference to earn a tiebreak advantage should the teams be tied at the end of the Top 16. The game was closely contested throughout; Panathinaikos drew within 1 twice in the fourth quarter, but Maccabi held on and sealed the win with late free throws from Jeremy Pargo and Joe Alexander. Pargo led the champs with 16 points, while Alex Tyus, Yogev Ohayon and Alexander each scored 10. Nate Linhart added 10 rebounds and 3 steals. Vlantimir Giankovits scored 16 for Panathinaikos, Nikos Pappas had 15 and James Gist 12. Former Maccabi player and two-time Euroleague champ David Blu was honored during the game and inducted in the Maccabi Tel Aviv Hall of Fame.
First quarter: Cohen scores 6 points to lift Maccabi
Pargo got to the line for the first point of the game. Giankovits’s second-chance basket gave the Greens their first lead. Pargo hit a jumper over Gist as the 24-second clock sounded. A.J. Slaughter sank a jumper at the other end. Dimitris Diamantidis rejected Ohayon on a drive, but Devin Smith soon scored from behind the arc. Diamantidis assisted Esteban Batista on a layup to tie the game at 6-6. Gist threw down a two-handed jam, but Tyus drove and dunked on the next play. Nate Linhart took advantage of a Panathinaikos turnover and drove for a slam. Brian Randle’s block of Loukas Mavrokefalides led to a Maccabi fast break that MarQuez Haynes finished with a slam. Alexander banked in a shot to cap an 8-0 run. Diamantidis revived Panathinaikos with a three and Pappas free throws cut the cap to 14-13. Gist completed a 0-8 Panathinaikos run with a three-point play, which also sent Randle to the bench with 2 fouls. Alexander tied the game at 16-16. After Gist split free throws, Jake Cohen played the pick-and-roll with Haynes and converted a three-point play. Cohen drilled a three to end the quarter at 22-17.
Second quarter: Tyus, Pargo helps hosts to double-digit lead
Ohayon drove for a tough layup and then found Tyus for an alley-oop layup to finish a 10-0 run. Antonis Fotsis ended a four-minute scoring drought for Panathinaikos with a fast break layup. Randle dunked in transition to keep the champs in control. Pappas pulled up for a baseline jumper, but Randle turned a steal into an easy score for Cohen and a 30-21 lead. Pappas connected twice from downtown – Tyus sank free throws in between – to bring the Greens within 5. Pargo found Tyus for an alley-oop slam and Randle got a fortunate roll on a basket plus foul. Pargo attacked the rim to give Maccabi a double-digit lead. Diamantidis blocked Pargo and Giankovits scored from behind the arc to bring the visitors within 38-30 at the break.
Third quarter: Greens’ three-point shooting keeps it close
Giankovits and Pargo traded threes in the first two minutes of the second half. Giankovits’s fourth three of the game drew the Greens within 5 points. Diamantidis’s jumper made it 41-38. Tyus scored from the line, but Diamantidis bettered him with a three to make it 43-41 midway through the quarter. Linhart and Gist traded baskets. Panathinaikos missed shots to take the lead and Pargo converted a three-point play at the other end. Slaughter beat the shot clock with a tough three and Alexander finished with a slam at the other end. Pargo put on a show with a basket on Diamantidis. Pappas put together a three-point play only to see Ohayon answer with a basket-plus-foul. Pappas fought hard for an offensive rebound and turned it into a three that ended the quarter at 54-52.
Randle’s offensive rebound led to an Ohayon triple, but Fotsis answered in kind. Smith grabbed an offensive rebound and found Alexander for a slam. Eleftherios Bochoridis drilled a three to make it 59-58. Ohayon waited a minute before responding with a three. Smith then put back Haynes’s miss on the break to give the hosts a 6-point cushion with five minutes remaining. After a timeout Giankovits muscled his way to a basket and Fotsis’s triple made it 64-63. Smith swooped in for a layup to keep the champs in front. Randle scored inside, but Gist matched him. Pargo came up with a steal and split free throws with 2:07 remaining to put Maccabi ahead 69-65. Diamantidis split free throws to make it a one-possession game. Alexander shined with key rebounds at both ends. He sank free throws with 1:02 left for a 5-point lead. Gist free throws made it 71-68 with 20.2 seconds left. Pargo’s free throws with 14.9 seconds left iced the game.
Thursday, February 26, 2015