Maccabi avoids meltdown to nip Greens
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv narrowly avoided a massive meltdown as it held off Panathinaikos OPAP Athens for a 77-73 home victory on Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena. Maccabi controlled most of the game and built a 20-point lead with 6 minutes left before Panathinaikos charged back within 2 points with 8 seconds left. Scottie Wilbekin hit 2 free throws with 7.2 seconds left to secure the win, which gave Maccabi a 3-2 record. James Nunnally scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half to pace the winners while Wilbekin finished with 16 points and Derrick Williams added 11. Panathinaikos drained 6 three-pointers in the fourth quarter to make it a game but the hole was too deep and the Greens dropped to 1-4. Daryl Macon Jr. tallied 17 points in the loss, Ioannis Papapetrou had 15, Okaro White 14, Nemanja Nedovic finished with 13 and Georgios Papagiannis chipped in 6 points and 12 rebounds.
Keenan Evans’s three-point play opened the scoring for the game for Maccabi. Nedovic hit a layup at the other end and Papapetrou added 5 points for a 3-7 lead while the hosts went more than 3 minutes without a score. Maccabi went up 11-9 on a 6-0 run and the hosts got 6 points and an assist from Nunnally in an 8-0 surge for a 19-13 advantage after 10 minutes.
After a Nunnally score to start the second quarter, Nedovic drained a triple. But Nunnally added 6 more points - including a four-point play as the lead grew to double figures, 29-18. Ante Zizic’s first basket of the season increased the margin to 33-21 and it was 33-23 at intermission.
Williams started the second half with a three-pointer for the hosts and Wilbekin’s first triple increased the cushion to 43-25. White hit back-to-back three-pointers to try to keep Panathinaikos close at 46-31. Yogi Ferrell, Macon and White all knocked down triples for the visitors but the deficit was still 55-40 after 30 minutes.
Macon’s score to start the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 55-42. But Maccabi didn’t let Panathinaikos dream too long as Wilbekin had 5 points and an assist in a 9-2 run as the lead swelled to 20 points (64-44) with 7 minutes to play. The visitors were not ready to leave Israel with a loss as Macon had a four-point play and triple and Nedovic scored 5 points in a 4-15 Panathinaikos run in just more than 2 minutes to pull within 66-59. Williams answered with two scores and Wilbekin drained a big three-pointer to put Maccabi up 71-60. Panathinaikos stormed back again with Papapetrou hitting 2 three-pointers and Macon’s layup made it 75-73 with 8 seconds left. Wilbekin followed with 2 free throws with 7.2 seconds left and then Angelo Caloiaro grabbed a steal to secure the win.
.@scottiew_5 sends @JalenReynolds flying for the alley-oop dunk @MaccabitlvBC #7DAYSMagicMoment pic.twitter.com/wmHke78XWg
Pivotal performer - Scottie Wilbekin does it all
James Nunnally was the man of the first half, but Scottie Wilbekin finished off the game for Maccabi. The team’s star tallied 16 points including 3 three-pointers - the last one a big one with less than 3 minutes left. He also hit the big free throws in the waning seconds. Wilbekin finished with 7 rebounds and also dished out 4 assists to just 2 turnovers. Those numbers resulted in an index rating of 12. While the stats might not stand out, Wilbekin was there when the team needed him most.
Both teams welcome much-needed help: Debuts for Zizic, Ferrell
Both teams saw important figures make their first appearance of the season. Ante Zizic threw down a big dunk on his first possession on the court for Maccabi and the Croatian big man helped the team with 6 points on 3-of-5 shooting while also picking up 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in 10 minutes of action. While Zizic was with Maccabi last season, Panathinaikos just added playmaker Yogi Ferrell. He dished a couple of assists in the early going and his first points came on a pull-up three-pointer. Ferrell ended up collecting 3 points, 3 assists and 1 turnover in 10 minutes.
Telling numbers: Maccabi controls the glass
Maccabi shot a blistering 57.5% on two-pointers as the biggest statistical difference in the game while holding Panathinaikos to just 37.5% from two-point range. The hosts also controlled the glass with 42 rebounds to 32 for Panathinaikos. In addition, Maccabi made 13 free throws to just 7 for the visitors. The Greens were not able to take enough advantage of turnovers, picking up 16 points off 14 Maccabi turnovers compared to 5 Maccabi points off 10 Panathinaikos turnovers.
Thursday, October 21, 2021