(photo credit: REUTERS)
What a difference 48 hours can make.
Two days after being trounced by
Panathinaikos in Game 1 of the Euroleague quarterfinals, Maccabi Tel Aviv
recorded one of its more remarkable victories in recent memory on Thursday
night, beating the Greeks 94-92 in overtime to tie the best-of-five series at
Maccabi was completely outplayed on Tuesday on the way to a 93-73
defeat, but showed true courage and heart in Game 2, blowing an eightpoint
fourth period lead, but coming back to claim a classic win in
Keith Langford had 17 points for Maccabi, which hosts Games 3
and 4 at Nokia Arena next Tuesday and Thursday.
David Blu added 16
points, including two clutch three-pointers, with Yogev Ohayon and Devin Smith
scoring 15 each.
Kostas Kaimakoglou had 20 points for Pao.
seemed like Pao has picked up where it left off on Tuesday after Dimitris
Diamantidis’s three-pointer opened an early 10-6 lead.
triples by Kostas Tsartsaris to end the first quarter gave Pao a 24-20 lead
after 10 minutes and Maccabi found itself with its back against the wall after
David Logan’s turnaround jumper increased the gap to seven points
However, this time Maccabi didn’t crack under the pressure, with
Keith Langford’s lay-up tying the game once more (34-34).
desperation three as the shot clock was about to expire gave Maccabi its first
lead of the night (39-38) with 2:26 remaining in the half, and despite entering
the break down by two points (43-41) following Kaimakoglou’s three, Tel Aviv
coach David Blatt couldn’t have really asked for a better response following
Blatt was even happier after Ohayon’s three-point
move to start the second half put Maccabi back in front, with two more
sensational baskets by the young Israeli guard followed by a Devin Smith three
taking the yellowand- blue’s margin to 61-54 with 1:37 left in the third
Pao scored the last four points of the quarter to make it a one
possession game (61-58) with 10 minutes to play, but it was Maccabi which got
the fourth frame off to the better start, with the visitors holding the hosts
scoreless for the first two minutes of the period before a Smith three opened a
double-digit cushion (68-58).
Two triples by Diamantidis threatened to
spark a Pao run, but an Ohayon three followed by a Langford basket saw the gap
mushroom to eight points (75-67) with 4:20 on the clock.
However, Pao got
right back into the game with an 8-1 run, with Romain Sato’s free throws cutting
the margin to a single point (76-75).
Theo Papaloukas ensured Maccabi
still held the lead (80-77) with four straight points, but Batiste’s dunk with
1:07 to play tied the score at 81-81.
David Blu put Maccabi back in front
with a tough jumper and the visitors had a chance to move further ahead after a
However, Langford had his shot blocked and Kaimakoglou
leveled the score at 83-83 from the free throw line with 13 seconds
That left Maccabi with plenty of time to win the game, but the
yellowand- blue couldn’t even get a shot off before the final buzzer and the
encounter went into overtime.
There was still nothing to separate the
teams in the extra five minutes, with a Blu three making it 90-90 with 1:50
Batiste made it 92-90, but a stunning Blu triple with 30 seconds to
go put Maccabi back in front (93-92).
Langford only hit one free throw
with 18 seconds remaining, but Pao couldn’t score at the other end and Maccabi
clinched a memorable victory.