Maccabi levels series with PAO in overtime

Maccabi Tel Aviv bounced back from its 20-point loss on Tuesday to beat Panathinaikos 94-92 in overtime on Thursday at the Olympic Sports Hall in Athens and tie their Euroleague quarterfinal series at 1-1.

The best-of-five playoff now moves to Israel, with Panathinaikos needing at least one win in the two games to be played at Tel Aviv next week to stay alive in the chase for a spot in Istanbul?s Final Four.

Panathinaikos felt frustrated for almost the whole of the game as it could not feed its forwards on the night due to the improved Maccabi defense and chose instead to rely on long-distance shots, that are always risky.

The visitors on the other hand were considerably improved from Game 1 of the series, also in Athens, and although they trailed 24-20 after the first period and 43-41 at half-time, they went on to lead by 10 points (68-58) before Panathinaikos started its comeback.

Consecutive three-pointers by Sarunas Jasikevicius and Costas Kaimakoglou brought the Greeks right back in the game, whose regular time ended 83-83.

However, it was not meant to be for the Greens as Maccabi had an extraordinary David Blu (16 points) and the revelation, Yogev Ohayon (15), who along with Keith Langford (17) led the team coached by David Blatt to the away win that is tipping the series in its favor, given that the Tel Aviv club has the home advantage now.

At least Panathinaikos can take heart from the fact that it seems to play better on the road this season in Europe.

It had Kaimakoglou score 20 points on Thursday, followed by Mike Batiste with 16 and Jasikevicius with 15.

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