What a thriller: A game riddled with vital injuries, a career-high for Deni Avdija, and endless lead changes that concluded with a perfect inbounds pass, which led to a game-winning layup, Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv came away with a prestigious 78:77 victory over Fenerbahce that completed a season sweep over Zeljko Obradovic's squad.
Othello Hunter and Deni Avdija (career-high) were Maccabi's top scorers with 13 points each, as Aaron Jackson was one of the heroes of this win, finishing the night with 12 points (all scored in the first half) while heading down numerous times to the locker room to receive treatment for his ailing ankle.
Maccabi started with Aaron Jackson, Elijah Bryant, Angelo Caloiaro, Quincy Acy, and Othello Hunter in the opening five. Both teams began the game strong, playing great high tempo basketball as Hunter and Acy combined to score the Yellow & Blue's first 10 points. At the same time, Fenerbahce's big men's Jan Vesely and Dereck Williams did the damage for the hosts, 10:10. As the first quarter continued, the Turkish squad took a minimal lead with Kostas Sloukas scoring 7 points as Jackson answered on the other end, with 5 of his own for a 20:23 score after the first 10 minutes.
Deni Avdija led to a second-quarter turnaround with a powerful dunk over Luigi Datome, adding one possession later a three-pointer, which gave Maccabi a 30:27 advantage. Jackson (12 first-half points) hit his third three of the half, scoring 7 of Maccabi's last 9 points of the period sending the Yellow & Blue with a 1 point edge at halftime, 41:40.
With the start of the second half, both teams traded buckets, but then Avdija got into foul trouble, and Jackson went down to the locker room after aggravating his ankle. The hosts took advantage scoring 6 unanswered points that put them up in front, 46:52. However, Maccabi responded well after the timeout going on a 9:0 run with great minutes by Bryant and Acy, who minutes later also headed to the locker room in pain after landing badly on his ankle. Amar'e Stoudemire hit 2 from the line and dished a no-look pass to Caloiaro, which gave the visitors a 64:63 lead heading into the fourth.
Maccabi's strong defense and a couple of horrible misses by Zeljko Obradovic's squad helped them take a game-high 8 point advantage after Avdija's third triple of the game, 71:63. After four scoreless minutes, Fenerbahce got their first points, rallied back, and even retook the lead with a minute left on the game clock after a Leo Westermann shot from deep, 74:75. Tyler Dorsey hit a tough jumper that gave the Yellow & Blue a one-point advantage, but Sloukas made two free throws with 4 seconds left to put Fenerbahce up 76:77. Giannis Sfairopoulos drew a play in his final timeout, and his players executed it to perfection. Caloiaro inbounded a lob pass for Hunter, who fought inside and laid it in to give Maccabi an incredible 78:77 win in Istanbul.