By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Maccabi Tel Aviv led for the entire second half against Panathinaikos and left Athens with a crucial 95 – 83 win in a postponed game for Round 21. The Yellows won their third straight EuroLeague game and improved to 14 – 11 to climb sixth in the standings.
There was no shortage of contributors for Maccabi. Derrick Williams led the way with 17 points plus six rebounds, Jalen Reynolds had 16 points and nine rebounds, James Nunnally posted 15 points and eight boards while Ante Zizic dropped 13 points. Keenan Evans finished with 11 points, six assists and four steals, being a key factor for the Israeli side for a second straight game.
Nemanja Nedovic dropped a game-high 21 points for Panathinaikos and Ioannis Papapetrou scored 17 in his return to EuroLeague action after two months. Their already-eliminated team dropped to 7-18.
Panathinaikos led 46 – 43 with two minutes to play in the second quarter but Maccabi completed the half with a 0 – 12 run to go up 46 – 55. Avi Even’s players retained an advantage around double figures and went ahead even by 15, 61 – 76, early in the fourth period.
Nedovic cut that margin to 74 – 79 but Williams and Reynolds lifted Maccabi to a double-digit lead once more and Nunnally more or less secured the win when he scored for the 79 – 92 with 1:29 to play.
“Congrats to Maccabi, they played a good game,” Panathinaikos coach Dimitris Priftis said. “We had a good first quarter. We lost contact with the score in the second quarter. Unfortunately, we have symptoms of allowing too many points in one quarter. Definitely, our problem was defensively. There are not many reasons to say more. We have one day and then a very difficult game against Real Madrid. The players tried, but it was not enough.”
One thing that definitely made Priftis smile tonight was the performance of 18-year-old forward Lefteris Mantzoukas. The youngster played 18:05 minutes before he was fouled out and had a EuroLeague career-high 11 points on 4-4 shots, including 3-3 triples.
Maccabi coach Avi Even knew that any game in OAKA can be tricky regardless of the condition of Panathinaikos so he was pleased that his guys escaped with the victory.
“I am very happy that we managed to translate the effort we put on defense into points on offense,” Even said. “It was a tough game because they are a tough team, especially here, and I am happy we managed to take this win here. ”