Maccabi rallies past Khimki in a thriller
In a thriller between playoffs contenders, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv rallied from 13 points behind to edge visiting Khimki Moscow Region 80-77 on Wednesday, ending its two-game losing streak. Maccabi's record rose to 15-8, ever closer to a playoff qualification, while Khimki lost its seventh in eight games to fall to 9-15. Elijah Bryant replaced the injured Scottie Wilbekin, Maccabi's top scorer, with 21 points that included many key ones in a tight finish. Tyler Dorsey added 12 points, while teenager Deni Avdija had 11 and 9 rebounds, with Othello Hunter right behind with 10 and 8, respectively. Khimki got 18 points from Alexey Shved and 17 from Jonas Jerebko to go with 13 from Janis Timma and 11 from Stefan Jovic. Khimki went up 34-47 late in the first half, but by early in the second, Maccabi had rallied into the lead, setting the stage for a tug-of-war battle to the finish that Bryant's 3 points in the final minute decided.
It was all three-pointers in the early going. Bryant and Quincy Acy both hit for the hosts, but while Timma nailed a pair and Sergey Monia followed him for the visitors to go in front, 9-13. Shved made his presence felt to extend the Khimki lead to 13-18. Dorsey's three-pointer soon helped Maccabi get within 20-22, but Shved's first triple let Khimki lead 20-28 after 10 minutes. Sergey Karasev's put-back gave Khimki a 20-30 lead to start the second quarter. Jalen Reynolds, with 7 points, sparked Maccabi's comeback to within 31-33. Shved answered from deep as he and Jerebko restored the double-digit difference at 31-42. Maccabi couldn't hit anything for a stretch until Avdija detonated a fastbreak dunk, but Stefan Jovic answered from the corner as Khimki stretched its advantage to 36-47 at the half. Bryant busted out with the first 5 points after the break and Hunter slammed to cut the difference to 43-47. Bryant kept it going and Avdija fed Acy for a go-ahead corner triple. Shved stopped Maccabi's 12-0 run with a three-point play, but Hunter's put-back and-one tied it 50-50. Jerebko followed a slam with a fadeaway jumper to make it 52-55. Angelo Caloiaro would put Maccabi ahead 56-55 only to see Jovic and Jerebko connect on another dunk. Jovic and Aaron Jackson traded three-pointers to leave a 60-60 tie after 30 minutes. Dorsey's corner triple lifted the Maccabi fans from their seats to open the fourth quarter. Timma and Jovic flipped the lead at 63-64, but it flipped twice again as Bryant and Egor Vialtsev both scored. Avdija broke a 67-67 tie from the corner, but Jerebko copied him. Bryant's second-chance layup was bettered by Devin Booker's three-pointer, putting Khimki up 72-73 with 4 minutes left. Hunter finished a break for Maccabi, but Shved rainbowed his third triple in 11 tries to make it 74-76 for the visitors and then stole from Maccabi out of a timeout. Out of the next one, however, Avdija fed Dorsey for a go-ahead triple at 77-76 with 1:22 to play. Booker got to the free throw line to hit 1 of 2, leaving a 77-77 tie going into the last minute. Bryant broke down Jovic and hit a floater, then Maccabi won a jump ball with 12 seconds left that sent him to the line 10 seconds later to seal the victory.
With Wilbekin watching in street clothes, Maccabi needed a scorer to measure up to Shved, and Elijah Bryant outdid himself with a personal-best 21 points to go with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals for a performance index rating of 21.
Maccabi trailed 34-47 a minute before halftime. Avdija scored before that buzzer, and right after the break, Bryant had 7 points in what became a 14-0 Maccabi run to give the hosts their first lead, 48-47. Avdija assisted on the other 5 points in that run, which turned the game into a dogfight in which Maccabi eventually prevailed.
The teams were tied with PIRs of 85 and 10 three-pointers each, but Khimki bested Maccabi in free throws (13 to 9), assists (19 to 13), steals (6 to 3), blocks (4 to 3) and turnovers (8 to 10). Maccabi made the difference in more offensive rebounds (14 to 10) and two-pointers made (21 to 17) even though they shot worse there (45.7% to 56.7%). Khimki making only 10 of 36 three-pointers (27.8%) was the other difference maker.
Both teams turn around in 48 hours to play Round 24 on Friday. Maccabi travels to play Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul while Khimki returns home to try its luck against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020