Maccabi Tel Aviv finally showed it has what it takes to defeat Europe’s best this season on Thursday night, edging Barcelona 70-68 in a thrilling Euroleague encounter at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
Maccabi led for much of the night, including by double figures midway through the fourth period. However, the Spanish powerhouse fought back and had a chance to tie the score in the closing seconds, only for Devin Smith to block former Maccabi center Maciej Lampe with the game on the line.
Jeremy Pargo had 20 points and seven assists for Maccabi, which improved to 2-1 in the Top 16. Devin Smith added 15 points, while Ante Tomic had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Barcelona, which fell to 1-2.
The key for Maccabi was always going to be its defensive play and the yellow-and-blue suffocated the visitors right from the tip-off.
Barca scored the first points of the night after 14 seconds, but took almost three minutes to add to that tally, allowing Tel Aviv to seize the lead.