Panathinaikos suffered its third loss in eight games at the second stage of the Euroleague going down 73-70 at Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday, but has preserved its better head-to-head record with the Israelis thanks to its seven-point victory in Athens.
Maccabi was always the favorite in Tel Aviv, but Panathinaikos challenged the Israeli side all the way on the night through some good defending in the second and third period. However whenever the Greens got within striking distance they always failed to snatch the lead from their host.
The main difference between the two teams at the Menora Mivtachim Arena was in rebounds, as Maccabi collected 44 against Panathinaikos’s 33.
Despite a good start to the game, Panathinaikos found itself trailing 22-17 after the first period and 38-30 at half-time, but its improved game in the third quarter allowed it to cut the distance to just two points (54-52) before the last period.
Maccabi, playing without Greek star Sofoklis Schortsanitis, tried in the end to cover the deficit of the seven points from the first game in Athens, but Panathinaikos retained that advantage that may make the difference at the end of this mini-league.
Vladimir Jankovic scored 16 points and Nikos Pappas added another 15 on the night for Panathinaikos.