MACCABI TEL AVIV’S Guy Pnini 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv escaped its first BSL defeat of the season by the skin of its
teeth on Monday night, beating Barak Netanya 87-85 at Nokia Arena.
Aviv entered Monday’s game as a massive favorite, especially as the already
mediocre Netanya was without top-scorer Adrian Banks.
took a 61-54 margin into the final 10 minutes after outscoring Maccabi 20-8 in
the third quarter and led by as many as 10 points early in the fourth
Tel Aviv seized control once more with a 12-0 run, but Netanya
never lost touch with the reigning champion and came tantalizingly close to
claiming the victory at the end, with Jerome Randle missing a chance to win the
game in the dying seconds before Lior Lifshitz squandered an opportunity to
force overtime at the buzzer.
“Netanya played superbly.
great, but Netanya deserves credit,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt, whose team
also survived a scare last week when it won 87-83 at Ironi Ashkelon.
Pnini led Maccabi with 20 points, saving the yellow-and-blue’s blushes with 16
points in the fourth period, including three consecutive three-pointers at one
“Guy’s a winner,” Blatt said. “He’s the kind of player you know
will always be there for you when it counts.”
Sofoklis Schortsanitis also
scored 20 points while taking eight rebounds, with David Blu adding 14
Only five players scored for Netanya, with Christian Burns
contributing 25 points and eight rebounds, and Lior Hakhmon (19), Brian Asbury
(18), Randle (17) and Lifshitz (6) netting the rest of the team’s
“We had our chances to win the game, but we couldn’t take them,”
Netanya coach Danny Franco said.
“Nevertheless, we showed our character
tonight and that will help us pick up victories another time.”
first half ended in a 46-41 Maccabi lead, but Asbury capped an excellent third
quarter for the visitors and Netanya took a sevenpoint (61-54) cushion into the
A Lifshitz triple to start the period extended Netanya’s
lead to a game-high 10 points, only for Tel Aviv to move back in front with a
There was little to separate the teams for the remainder of the
night, with Lifshitz’s free throws giving the visitors an 85-84 advantage with
43 seconds to play.
A Yogev Ohayon layup put Maccabi back in the lead,
and Tel Aviv breathed a sigh of relief after both Randle and Lifshitz missed.