After a journey of three away games, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv returns home. The Yellows will host Panathinaikos on Thursday (21:05 local, 2:05 pm ET, live broadcast on 5Sport) for a battle between two of the most decorated basketball clubs in Europe, each winning the continental title six times.
Ante Zizic will make his return to Maccabi's roster, good news for Giannis Sfairopoulos, who spoke at a press conference ahead of the game. "We want to get more positive results after the win against Villeurbanne," the Greek coach said. "I heard all the tickets were sold, and that's great. We want our fans to be our sixth player. Their support can help us get an important victory".
"We want to build ourselves game by game," Yiftach Ziv added. "Continuity will come when we have confidence and chemistry, and we work hard every day to achieve just that."
The head-to-head record between Maccabi and PAO in the Euroleague (since 2001/2) is 14:13 in favor of the Greeks, but The Israeli champs hold an 8:4 lead at home.
Maccabi hangs on to beat Panathinaikos 77:73
The Yellows' achieved a third Euroleague victory in five games, thanks to 18 points from Nunnally and 16 from Wilbekin. Zizic posted a successful comeback. On Saturday: Maccabi hosts Hapoel Jerusalem
It was another important step for Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv this season. The Yellows defeated Panathinaikos 77:73 in front of a packed Arena, but not before being dragged into a real thriller in the last minutes.
Maccabi played a great first half, led by James Nunnally, who finished the evening with 18 points. The defense looked improved for three quarters too, but a last quarter meltdown brought the Israeli champs close to defeat after already leading by 20 points (64:44).
Luckily for Maccabi, Scottie Wilbekin showed up to seal a tough win and advance the yellows to a 3:2 Euroleague record. Another positive from today's win was Ante Zizic's comeback from injury (The Croatian Center scored 6 points).
On Saturday, Maccabi will host Hapoel Jerusalem for yet another classic. The last meeting between the two was less than a month ago in Winner's cup semi-final. The yellows won 81:65.