By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
With the game on the line, Derrick Williams made things happen with a big three, which was enough for the 88-86 win over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv.
The Israelis with seven seconds left had one last chance, Wade Baldwin got an open shot to tie the game and send it to overtime, but he missed.
Williams finished the game with 17 points and five rebounds, Paris Lee had 21 points and Dwayne Bacon added 19, 10 of them in the closing minutes.
“Nate [Wolters] had a nice drive to the paint [and] found me on the wing”, said Williams about the winning play. “I’m just happy I made it, I’m happy we got a win. We haven’t had a win in a while, so it is always good to get a win. Against Fenerbahce the other day was a bad ending for us; we came back, recharged. I am just glad we got a win.”
Bonzie Colson had a stellar game for Maccabi with a EuroLeague career high of 29 points and Baldwin added 21, but it was not enough.
“I think we played better in the second half”, said Maccabi coach Oded Kattash. “You have to give them credit; they hit some tough shots in the end. But we kept fighting, we were there, we were close. We almost turned the game around, but in the end it came down to one or two plays. They hit some tough shots. Too bad”.
Panathinaikos got a good start (24-17) and kept the momentum until halftime (45-37) with Williams scoring 12 points and Lee adding 11.
Colson got 10 points in the first half and jumped to 18 in the third period with Maccabi trimming the lead to one point (59-58). However, Panathinaikos completed the quarter with a 6-0 run (65-58).
Still, Maccabi stayed close and got a 72-71 lead with five minutes left. Bacon answered back with a three (74-72), George Papagiannis followed with a dunk (76-72) and two more shots by Bacon (80-72) gave the hosts a solid lead with three minutes left.
“It was a big fight for all 40 minutes. In the end, we won. If you see [the] statistics, you can talk about [our] offensive game, but it is not easy to play against a team like Maccabi with so many good players. It is not only Lorenzo Brown and Wade Baldwin. Against Maccabi, you have to be focused all 40 minutes”, added Panathinaikos’ coach Dejan Radonjic.
With Colson making two big threes, Maccabi made it a one-shot game (83-80) and ultimately got the 84-83 lead, setting the stage for the thrilling finale as the lead changed constantly until the big three of Williams.
Panathinaikos got its 7th win for a 7-12 record after six straight defeats, while Maccabi dropped to 10-9.