(photo credit: (Adi Avishai))
Maccabi Tel Aviv extended its Euroleague winning streak to eight games on
Thursday night, defeating BC Khimki Moscow 80-76 at Nokia Arena.
had secured first place in Group A with two games to spare last week, but
despite having little to play for on Thursday, it still came back from a
double-digit deficit in the third quarter to clinch yet another continental
Jeremy Pargo had 18 points and Guy Pnini scored 15 for Maccabi,
which visits Prokom Gdynia next week for its final regular season game before
the start of the Top 16 on January 19.
Keith Langford had 20 points for
It was clear from the start which team needed the win more and it
was of little surprise that the visitors took the early
However, Maccabi soon found its rhythm, especially Sofoklis
Schortsanitis, who gave the hosts a 17-9 gap with a three-point play.
Aviv looked comfortable, but five minutes into the game it lost its composure
when Lior Eliyahu went down hard after scoring a lay-up and had to be helped off
the court on his way to the dressing room.
Khimki fought like a team that
needed to win to maintain any hope of advancing to the Top 16 next week, and
Langford’s three-pointer to finish the first period brought the visitors within
three points (18-15).
The Russians would then begin the second quarter
with a stunning 18-2 run to take complete control of the
Langford and Kresimir Loncar shredded Maccabi’s defense and
the visitors opened a 33-20 margin.
The yellow-and-blue limited the
damage slightly in the remainder of the first half, but at the break Maccabi was
still trailing 37-30.
Khimki was still in charge after Thomas Kelati’s
three gave it a 50-40 gap midway through the third frame, but Maccabi would
outscore the Russians 19-5 in the remainder of the period and had the momentum
on its side with 10 minutes to play, leading 59-55.
David Blatt’s men
continued to display their trademark defensive intensity at the start of the
fourth period and maintained their lead until the final whistle.
Thursday, Maccabi Haifa lost 82-75 to Khimik Yuzhny in Nesher, missing a chance
to wrap up its progress to the last 16 of the EuroChallenge.
Killingsworth scored 17 points for Haifa, which