Mac TA’s road woes continue in Athens

Panathinaikos surges ahead in the second half to hand yellow-and-blue second straight defeat

December 20, 2017 06:11
2 minute read.
Mac TA’s road woes continue in Athens

Panathinaikos forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo goes up for a dunk against Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Michael Roll during last night’s win for the Greeks in Athens. (photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)

Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped to its third straight double-digit road loss in Euroleague action on Tuesday night, falling to a 7-6 record following an 89-76 defeat to Panathinaikos in Athens.

For all the compliments it has received for its relatively impressive play so far this season, Maccabi has yet to manage to beat a top Euroleague team away from home.

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The yellow-and-blue has won only two of six road games in all, suffering humbling losses in its last three.

Maccabi was coming off a 101-86 defeat at CSKA Moscow on Friday after losing its previous road game in Barcelona by 22 points.

Tel Aviv was always facing an uphill battle in Athens, with Panathinaikos improving to 7-0 at home on Tuesday and 21-1 in regular season home games since the start of last season.

Panathinaikos entered the game owning the third-best defense in the competition, allowing 77.2 points per game. It improved on that by holding Maccabi to 76 points and moved to 9-4 on the season.

Norris Cole led Maccabi with 14 points.

Pierre Jackson added 13 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Alex Tyus had 12 points.

Maccabi coach Neven Spahija won’t have long to mull over the defeat, with the yellow-and-blue already hosting reigning champion Fenerbahce on Thursday night. A defeat to the Turks would drop Maccabi back to .500 for the first time since the fourth game of the campaign.

Tel Aviv came in as the competition’s top rebounding team, but was beaten 35-27 on the boards.

KC Rivers and James Gist netted 15 points each for Panathinaikos.

Panathinaikos led by four points (25-21) after the first 10 minutes and would establish a nine-point margin (35-26) after a KC Rivers three-pointer.

The absence of playmaker Nick Calathes, who leads the Euroleague in assists, didn’t seem to affect Panathinaikos too badly, but Maccabi was never too far behind in the first half. A Norris Cole basket made it a one-point game (39-38) and the Greeks led by six points at the break (49-43).

The hosts scored the first four points of the second half to establish a double-digit margin for the first time (53-43) and remained in control until the final buzzer.

A Pappas basket at the buzzer gave Pao an 11-point cushion (67-56) entering the final 10 minutes.

Panathinaikos then netted the first five points of the final frame, with a Chris Singleton three-pointer opening a 15-point margin. An 11-2 run, capped by a Deshaun Thomas triple, gave Maccabi some hope (74-67). But five quick points helped the Greeks reestablish a double-figure gap and there would be no way back for the yellow-and-blue.

Also Tuesday, Hapoel Holon was outplayed in a 94-64 defeat at AS Monaco in FIBA Champions League action. Holon fell to a 2-7 record and its hopes of finishing in the top four and advancing to the round of 16 are quickly fading.

Joe Alexander had 18 points for Holon, which is still mathematically alive having five more games to play in the regular season.

Elmedin Kikanovic had 19 points for Monaco, which improved to 9-0.

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