With Scottie Wilbekin safely leading his team to the win, Maccabi secures another tough win at home beating Panathinaikos, 89-81, on Tuesday night (22/12). Maccabi was leading the score for 40 minutes but Panathinaikos returned back on the game in the second half with Nedovic on fire.
Scottie Wilbekin was the top scorer for the hosts with 22 points while Othelo Hunter added 13. Nemanja Nedovic had the match of his life for Panathinaikos but his 39 points were not enough for the guests to get the win in Israel.
After a sloppy start from both teams, Panathinaikos opened the score with two points from Papagiannis with Maccabi and Ante Zizic replying (2-2). Both teams were struggling to find their way to the opposite basket halfway the first quarter (4-4). Wilbekin with the jumper gave the first 2-point lead to his team (6-4) while Panathinaikos was unable to score. Zizic extended Maccabi’s lead a few minutes later (8-4) with Bryant having three free throws for Maccabi and making all three of them (11-4). Shelvin Mack with the triple brought Panathinaikos closer to the score but Zoosman with two points didn’t let the Greeks have the momentum. Vougioukas stepped on the court and brought some energy to Panathinaikos, scoring two points but missing the extra free throw (16-9). Five consecutive points from Othelo Hunter, extended Maccabi’s lead to end the first quarter (21-12).
Perfect start for Panathinaikos in the second quarter with Ben Bentil scoring the triple (21-15) with Jones replying with a two point shot (23-15). Panathinaikos’ defense started getting more solid against Maccabi but Casspi with the lucky basket scored two more points for the Israeli club (25-15). Coach Sfairopoulos saw his players extending their lead even more with Bryant (27-15), with 6 minutes until the end of the first half remaining. Nedovic with the big three took the difference down to single digits until Casspi brings it back to 13 points with two consecutive baskets (31-18), forcing coach Vovoras to a time out. Panathinaikos had to fight back before the end of the half something that Nedovic and White tried to do. Panathinaikos came back within nine points (35-24) but Maccabi stayed concentrated and ended the first half leading by 11 points (41-30).
In the second half both teams started head-to-head with Panathinaikos trying to make their comeback and get better on both ends of the court (47-34). Mitoglou was the one who led Panathinaikos to the comeback against Maccabi but Scottie Wilbekin with the triple didn’t let the players of coach Vovoras come any closer (50-38). Nedovic replied with the triple and continued helping Panathinaikos offensively, bringing the difference back to single digits and forcing Maccabi to a time out early in the third quarter (50-41). Mitoglou scored two more points to bring the score to 50-43 with Marcus Foster knocking down the triple to bring Panathinaikos within four points (50-46). Bryant with the three pointer was the one who was preventing Panathinaikos from coming any closer (55-46) while Shelvin Mack added two free throws for Panathinaikos (55-48). Ioannis Papapetrou scored his first three points of the match to make the score 57-52, and bring Maccabi’s lead down to 5 points. Despite the fact that Panathinaikos had several chances to score, Maccabi ended the third quarter leading by seven points (59-52).
In the fourth and final quarter, Maccabi had a safe lead while Panathinaikos had 10 minutes to get back on the game and fight for the win. Nedovic was fighting alone for Panathinaikos trying to keep the difference close enough for Panathinaikos to make something good, while Papagiannis was adding two more points (65-61). Papagiannis helped the “greens” both offensively and defensively, blocking Othelo Hunter and giving Ben Bentil the chance to score (67-63). A much needed three pointer from Bender was what Maccabi needed, forcing Panathinaikos and coach Vovoras to a time out (70-63). Nedovic for once again scored three crucial points and got the extra shot to bring Panathinaikos back within three points, five minutes before the end of the match (70-67). Scottie Wilbekin was the one to stop Panathinaikos’ momentum but not for long, with Nedovic again doing the match of his life scoring consecutive threes and bringing the difference to a single possession (75-73). With Wilbekin keeping Maccabi alive against Nedovic, the hosts extended their lead to 6 points (79-73), but all that until Bentil pulls the trigger for another triple from the corner (79-76). Maccabi continued to show their composure against Panathinaikos, with Scottie Wilbekin again doing anything on his power to lead his team to the win (83-76). With Panathinaikos trailing by 7 and one minute on the clock, Maccabi was safely going towards another win (84-78). Wilbekin was again the one scoring for Maccabi leading his team to the end of the fourth quarter and the win against Panathinaikos (89-81).