Maccabi Tel Aviv overcame a lackluster Panathinaikos Athens effort on Thursday night to claim a 75-68 victory in Euroleague action at Nokia Arena.
Maccabi knew full well going into the contest that if it has aspirations of European glory, this would be the game to prove its credentials.
A home fixture against a Panathinaikos side that is billed as Maccabi’s fiercest competitor for top berth in Group D would certainly make a statement.
Even though Maccabi came in on a run of wins, both domestically and internationally, critics were suggesting that it had not done so in the most convincing of ways.
Wins against Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius and Bnei Herzliya were tight affairs, against teams that, on paper, should have been easier feats.
On Thursday, though, the yellow-and-blue had the upper hand during most of the game, sustaining a comfortable advantage and limiting Panathinaikos’ offensive play.