The objective was clear – to beat Benetton Treviso by more than 13 pts to top Group F and keep a chance to qualify to the Euroleague Final Four.
Except for the very strong opposing team, Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv had to overcome another hurdle – to play once again a home game outside Israel. And so they returned to the PAOK Sports Arena in Thessaloniki. This time accompanied by 200 fans who gave them great support. But eventually Benetton won 84-83 and made sure of a place in the Final Four.
Benetton led 27-21 at the end of the first period mainly to 13 pts by Trajan Langdon. Maccabi improved in the second, took a 41-39 lead but three turnovers enabled Benetton to take a 47-41 lead into half time.
Maccabi won the third quarter 18-1, ran 29-9 and opened an 11 points lead 79-68 with 3:20 minutes to go. Now it looked a real possibility. But some bad decisions, several turnovers and a series of personal fouls, enabled the Italians and mainly Marcelo Nicola, to cut the lead to 81-79. Sharp made it 83-79, Bulleri scored twice from the FT line. Coach Blatt went for a win or at least overtime. In the final play Vujcic missed his shot, Edney grabbed the the ball but was not fouled as Blatt ordered and he scored an impossible three pointer for the win and a place in the Final Four.