Greens, James sink Maccabi in Tel Aviv
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens delivered a crushing blow to Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv's playoff hopes and boosted its own chances for a top four finish with a 75-76 win at Menora Mivtachim Arena on Thursday night. Mike James tied a career high with 27 points, including the game-winner with 5.8 seconds left to lead Panathinaikos, which improved to 17-11 and tied for the fourth-best record in the league. Maccabi fell to 13-15 and will face elimination next week when it visits Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz. Ian Vougioukas added 16 points on perfect shooting in 15 minutes off the bench, Nick Calathes tallied 10 points and 4 assists in setting a new single-season assist record with 204 and Chris Singleton posted 9 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. DeAndre Kane led Maccabi with a career-high 19 points plus 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, Norris Cole added 14 points and Alex Tyus scored 10 in defeat. Against the league's top-rebounding team, Panathinaikos collected 13 offensive boards and outrebounded Maccabi 32-42 in one of the keys to the game.
The Greens grabbed the early lead on a Singleton triple, but Maccabi took its first lead, 7-5, through an Art Parakhouski hook shot two minutes later. Calathes stepped up with his first basket, a steal and a pair of assists in a 0-9 run. The second assist – on a James three-pointer – was the record breaker and gave Panathinaikos a 7-14 advantage. Maccabi reserves Cole and DeShaun Thomas provided a spark on offense; the former's three-pointer knotted the game at 18-18 and prompted a Panathinaikos timeout. Tyus scored inside to lift Maccabi to a 20-18 edge after 10 minutes. Nikos Pappas sandwiched a pair of baskets around a John DiBartolomeo triple in the first minute of the second quarter, but the hosts remained ahead. A slam by Thomas and free throws by Cole and DiBartolomeo extended the difference to 29-22. Panathinaikos struggled with its free throw shooting, while Tyus partied in the paint to give the hosts a double-digit lead, 35-25. DiBartolomeo connected from downtown to extend the difference to 11. Vougioukas scored 4 points in a 0-6 spurt that saw Panathinaikos trim the deficit. Jackson's pull-up jumper left Maccabi ahead 41-35 at the break.
James and Vougioukas helped Panathinaikos ship away at the difference early in the second half. A three by singleton made it 45-42, but Vougioukas took a seat with 4 fouls seconds later. The visitors completed their comeback through a three by James and a Calathes fast break layup to lead 46-47. Maccabi called timeout, after which Kane stepped up with a three-pointer and a three-point play to put the hosts back ahead. Calathes also found the scoring touch for the Greens, who tied it at 54-54 on a Matt Lojeski triple and regained the lead on a jumper by James. Kane scored twice in the minute of the third quarter to put Maccabi up 58-56 at its end. Cole opened the fourth with a three-point play, but James heated up for Panathinaikos to keep it close. Vougioukas scored inside to make it 65-63 with five minutes to go and Singleton got the Greens even closer when he split free throws. A turnover by Kane led to a fast break dunk for Pappas and Panathinaikos's first lead of the fourth quarter, 67-68, with 3:15 to play. Maccabi called timeout, but Vougioukas extended the lead to 3 with free throws. However, baskets by Michael Roll and Thomas put the hosts up 71-70 with two minutes left and Panathinaikos used a timeout. Singleton free throws nosed the Greens ahead and after Kane tied it, James gave the visitors a 72-74 lead. The arena roared after Kane saved a ball to Roll, who hit a go-ahead three with 25 seconds remaining. Panathinaikos went to James, who drove through Jonah Bolden for what proved to be the game-winning score with 5.8 seconds remaining, since Thomas missed at the buzzer.
Thursday, March 22, 2018