Maccabi roars back to beat Panathinaikos
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv erased an 18-point deficit before taking charge in the fourth quarter to defeat Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 88-79 at Menora Mivtachim Arena on Thursday night. The Israeli champs remained undefeated at home this season in recording their fifth consecutive victory and improving to 11-4 on the season. After trailing for all of the first three quarters, Maccabi finished the game on a 14-2 tear over the game’s final 6-plus minutes. Scottie Wilbekin led the charge with 23 points, Tyler Dorsey scored 16 and delivered 7 assists and Othello Hunter posted 15 points and 7 rebounds. Maccabi outrebounded Panathinaikos 42-32, including 21 offensive boards. DeShaun Thomas scored 24 points and Ioannis Papapetrou had 17 for Panathinaikos, which fell to 9-6.
Panathinaikos scored on each of its first three possessions, including a pair of buckets by Thomas, to jump ahead 2-6. Maccabi missed its first 8 three-pointers, while Jimmer Fredette connected from deep to extend the visitors’ lead. Thomas made it 4-15 before Angelo Caloiaro snapped the Maccabi drought with a triple. The margin reached 11-27 after 3 free throws by Fredette and a Jacob Wiley slam ended the quarter with the Greens on total control, 13-29. Another Rice-to-Wiley bucket put the visitors ahead by 18 to start the second quarter. Back-to-back threes by Wilbekin and Dorsey got the locals on their feet and prompted a Panathinaikos timeout at 27-38. More threes would come from Wilbekin and Den Avdija to close the gap even more and Hunter's basket in the lane made it 43-46 at the break.
Georgios Papagiannis scored on Panathinaikos's first two possessions of the second half before Thomas put the visitors up 8 with a put-back bucket. Maccabi seemed to have the momentum after Hunter's offensive rebound and slam made it 54-57, however, Panathinaikos responded with the next 6 points and Thomas put the visitors up 55-65. Elijah Bryant's put-back and Wilbekin free throws made it 65-69 through three quarters. Quincy Acy shined with a block on one end and a layup-plus-foul on the other before Dorsey tied it at 71-71 with a three-pointer with 7 and a half minutes remaining. Bryant’s floater with 5 and a half minutes left gave the hosts their first lead of the game, 79-77. Maccabi continued to roll with a Wilbekin triple nearly from the mid-court logo capping a 10-0 run for an 84-77 advantage with 4 minutes on the clock. Panathinaikos was unable to regain the momentum and Maccabi held on with the local fans singing loudly until the final buzzer.
Quincy Acy provided all the hustle a coach can ask of a player and then some for Maccabi. The forward posted 8 points 5 rebounds, 5 blocks and 1 steal in 30 minutes. His never-ending effort was an inspiration for the winners and a thorn in the Panathinaikos side.
The teams traded threes early in the fourth quarter with Maccabi tying the score three times and Panathinaikos regaining the lead on the next possession the first two times. Elijah Bryant's floater gave Maccabi the lead for good, 79-77, and Tyler Dorsey carved up the Panathinaikos defense for a layup, but the backbreaker came after a turnover for the visitors when Scottie Wilbekin drained a three-pointer almost from the mid-court logo and the Greens were never the same after that.
Panathinaikos outrebounded Maccabi 7-12 in the first quarter, after which it led 13-29. The rest of the night, Maccabi dominated the boards 35-20 and outscored Panathinaikos 75-50. The game’s top rebounder was the Greens' center Georgios Papagiannis with 9 in 17 minutes, but no other player from the visiting side had more than 4.
Maccabi will be tested by the league leader and 2019 EuroLeague runner-up Anadolu Efes in Istanbul in Round 16 on Thursday, December 26. Panathinaikos will also face a stern challenge in its 2019 finals when it hosts Real Madrid.
Thursday, December 19, 2019