Maccabi hosts Pana for crucial playoff test

Maccabi hosts Pana for crucial playoff test

TEL AVIV - Hürriyet Daily News
Maccabi hosts Pana for crucial playoff test

Maccabi’s Yogev Ohayon (C) goes for the basket past Panathinaikos’ Nick Calathes (L) and Dimitris Diamantidis during the Turkish Airlines Euroleauge Playoffs. AP photo

Maccabi Electra may make it to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four with a win tonight as the Israeli side held off Panathinaikos to take a 2-1 playoff series lead.

Maccabi beat the defending champions 65-62 to take a serious advantage in the best-of-series on March 27. If Maccabi wins tonight’s game, it will join Barcelona in the Final Four which will be played in Istanbul in May.

Also on March 27, Barcelona made it to the Final Four for the 12th time in club history - his third appearance in four years - by edging Eurocup champion Unics 56-67 in Kazan, Russia in Game 3 of the playoffs.

Barcelona swept the best-of-five playoff series and will face either Montepaschi Siena or Olympiacos BC in one of the Euroleague semifinals in Istanbul, Turkey on May 11.

Juan Carlos Navarro paced the winners with 21 points as Barcelona registered its fifth win against Unics in as many games this season.

“Thanks to this game, we will play in the Final Four in Istanbul,” Barcelona Regal Head Coach Xavier Pascual was quoted on the Euroleague website. “First of all I would like to congratulate Unics Kazan, its head coach Evgeny Pashutin, players and the whole club, because they have had a fantastic season. They qualified to the top eight in Europe and have played well all season long.”

At the Nokia Arena, Richard Hendrix’s tip-in put the hosts up three with 15.4 seconds to go and when Nick Calathes’ potential game-tying triple bounced out, the Maccabi fans let out a sigh of relief.

Game 4 is tonight on the same court and another Maccabi win will send Coach David Blatt and co. to another Final Four, while a Panathinaikos win sends the series back to Athens for Game 5 next week. k HDN