TEL AVIV - Hürriyet Daily News
The most thrilling of four Euroleague Playoff series will be carried to the deciding match in Greece
as Panathinaikos beat Maccabi on March 29.
Panathinaikos came up strong when it mattered most to beat Maccabi Electra 69-78 at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, tying their best-of-five Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs series at 2-2.
The deciding Game 5 in the series, which bring together last year’s finalists, will be played in Athens next week.
The game featured four lead changes in the last five minutes, but after David Blu put the hosts up 67-66, Dimitris Diamantidis scored six free throws in the final three minutes as the defending champs outscored Maccabi 2-12 the rest of the way to claim the victory. Panathinaikos had led for most of the game and was up 11 in the third quarter, but Maccabi always rallied back until running out of shots down the stretch.
Nick Calathes paced the Panathinaikos attack with 15 points, former Maccabi star Sarunas Jasikevicius netted 13 and Diamantidis and Kostas Kaimakoglou had 12 eacha.
Panathinaikos forward Steven Smith said the battle is not over yet.
“It was a very tough game, like any game against Maccabi,” Smith was quoted as saying in the competition’s website. “We played hard, executed the way we wanted and that’s how we got this win. We had our backs against the wall, and we reacted. That’s what we came to do here. Win a game and bring it back to Athens to our fans.
“Now we need to finish it. We have no time to celebrate.”