Zenit survives late Maccabi rally
Zenit St Petersburg recorded its third consecutive win by downing Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 73-71 at Sibur Arena on Thursday. Zenit reached the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season's halfway mark with an 11-6 record. Meanwhile, Maccabi lost its seventh in a row and dropped to 7-10. Alex Poythress led the winners with 14 points, Billy Baron added 12, including the game-winning three-pointer, and Arturas Gudaitis and Dmitry Kulagin each scored 10 for Zenit. Jalen Reynolds paced Maccabi with 24 points and 11 rebounds and Derrick Williams added 14 points for the visitors. Gudaitis, Andrey Zubkov and Jordan Loyd combined for 17 first-quarter points to give Zenit a 25-10 advantage. The lead peaked at 17 and Zenit remained in control throughout the first half. Williams and James Nunnally helped bring Maccabi within 53-47 late in the third quarter. Williams took over with a huge dunk that completed Maccabi's comeback, 70-71, with 17.0 seconds left. Baron buried the go-ahead three-pointer and Scottie Wilbekin missed at the buzzer.
Sergey Karasev got Zenit going with a corner three-pointer and Gudaitis erased Jake Cohen's layup with a dunk for a 5-2 lead. Ante Zizic found his first points, but Loyd hit a jumper and Zubkov struck from downtown to boost the hosts' lead to 10-4. Loyd and Baron joined the three-point shootout to make it a double-digit lead. Mateusz Ponitka swished a floater and Zubkov downed another one from beyond the arc, prompting Maccabi to call timeout at 21-6. Reynolds followed a jump hook with a six-meter jumper, but Gudaitis kept Zenit rolling at 25-10 after 10 minutes.
Williams took over with a power basket and a jumper early in the second quarter but Baron struck from beyond the arc and Loyd scored off a steal for a 30-14 Zenit margin. Reynolds dunked and Williams added a backdoor layup, causing the hosts to stop the game at 30-18. Poythress stepped up with a tip-in and followed Zubkov's third triple with a backdoor slam to boost Zenit's lead to 37-21. Reynolds kept pushing the guests with 4 quick points, but Gudaitis dunked and Conner Frankamp hit a floater, restoring a 41-26 Zenit margin at halftime.
Reynolds dunked again soon after the break and Keenan Evans added a second-chance basket to give Maccabi hope at 41-30. Gudaitis stepped up with an off-balance basket that Wilbekin matched with a floater. Maccabi kept running its offense through an unstoppable Reynolds, who brought his team within single digits, 45-36. Poythress dunked and fed Karasev for a reverse layup that gave Zenit fresh air at 49-36. Poythress kept pushing Zenit, forcing Maccabi to call timeout at 53-40. Nunnally struck from beyond the arc and Williams added a huge fastbreak slam, bringing the visitors within 53-47. Kulagin sank an off-balance, buzzer-beating triple to fix the score at 56-47 after 30 minutes.
Poythress scored down low early in the fourth quarter but Wilbekin and Cohen hit each a bomb from beyond the arc to bring Maccabi within 60-53. Reynolds scored around the basket but Kulagin ignited the crowd with a three-pointer. Kulagin erased Reynolds's dunk with a driving layup and soon added a jumper that caused Maccabi to call timeout at 67-57. Williams buried a three-pointer and Evans added a wild driving layup to make it 67-62 with 2:17 remaining. Reynolds hit a jump hook and Wilbekin sank a triple that made it a one-point game. Poythress made free throws but Nunnally matched with a backdoor layup and Williams dunked to give Maccabi its first lead of the game, 70-71, with 17.0 seconds left. Baron buried a critical three-pointer and Wilbekin missed a close, off-balance jumper at the buzzer.
Poythress steps up for Zenit
Alex Poythress was one of the main pillars in Zenit St Petersburg's home victory over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in Round 17. Poythress played less than 15 minutes, but it was enough for him to collect 14 points on 5-of-5 two-point shooting and 4-of-5 on free throws, plus 3 rebounds, an assist and a block for a team-high PIR of 19. Poythress averaged 5.2 points and a PIR of 6.7 in Zenit's first 14 games in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this season. In the last three games, however, Poythress has boosted his numbers to 13.0 points and a PIR of 16.0, while making 16 of 18 two-point shots.
Zenit wins on turnovers, three-pointers
Zenit St Peterburg had to wait until the final second to celebrate a 73-71 home win against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in Round 17. Three-pointers and defense were what allowed Zenit to get the victory. Zenit committed only 10 turnovers and forced Maccabi into 19. The Russian powerhouse buried 10 of 23 three-pointers (43.5%), none more important than the final one by Billy Baron to give Zenit the lead for good. Maccabi only took 12 three-point shots and made 5 of them (41.2%).
Reynolds shines in St Petersburg
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv suffered a 73-71 road defeat against Zenit St Petersburg in Round 17. The Israeli champs rallied from a 17-point deficit to get their first lead, 70-71, with 17.0 seconds left. Jalen Reynolds made it possible with a monster performance at Sibur Arena. He finished the game with season-highs of 24 points, 11 rebounds and a PIR of 28, registering his first double-double of the 2021-22 campaign and the fifth of his EuroLeague career. Reynolds buried 10 of 16 two-point shots and made 4 of 5 free throws.
Thursday, December 23, 2021