By Amy Samin
Before the tipoff there was a ceremony to honor the memory of former Maccabi manager Moni Fanan.
The team had black ribbons pinned onto their jerseys.
There was a moment of silence, and a photo of Fanan was displayed on the huge screen in Staples Center.
Fanan’s niece, who lives in the U.S., was invited to the game by Maccabi; as was the widow of Kevin Magee z”l and their children.
After the moment of silence, Hatikvah was played for the crowd of 13, 750.
One piece of good news for Maccabi was that for the first time this season, David Bluthenthal suited up and played in a game.
One player who did not suit up this time was Raviv Limonad who, after the game against the Knicks, returned to Israel to attend his brother’s wedding.
The Clippers started the game with Ricky Davis, Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Sebastian Telfair.
Andrew Wisniewski, Chuck Eidson, Alan Anderson, D’or Fischer and Maciej Lampe got the game off to a good start for Maccabi, taking them to a 7 – 4 lead after two and a half minutes.
Maccabi went with Lampe, who scored four points and kept Maccabi in the lead, 9 – 8 with four minutes gone.
Two minutes later, the hosts took the lead for the first time, 10 – 9, when Doron Perkins came into the game to give Anderson a break and Eric Gordon started shooting.
Maccabi got stuck at 9 points for too many minutes, and even the entrance of Bluthenthal didn’t help.
Perkins scored four straight points, the Clippers were called for a technical, and Bluthenthal started finding the hoop; all combined to bring Maccabi’s score up to 16, but a dunk by Griffin and points by Davis put the Clippers up 20 – 16 with two minutes left in the first period.
Perkins continued to be Maccabi’s main man, keeping his team close and scoring 8 points.
The first twelve minutes of the game ended with L.A. leading by only four, 26 – 22.
Maccabi opened the second quarter by scoring seven straight points, including a three-pointer from Bluthenthal, while Eidson protected Maccabi’s lead, 31 – 29 in the first minute.
Smith and Butler gave the lead back to the home team, and in spite of Yaniv Green’s first points of the game, the Clippers had a 37 – 35 lead halfway through the period.
The game stayed close, with the lead changing hands frequently.
A great play by Perkins to Lasme put Maccabi within two, 44 – 42 with four minutes remaining until halftime.
Then the Clippers broke out with a 13 – 0 scoring run, and the quarter ended with the home team in the lead, 53 – 42.
All the momentum remained on the side of the Clippers at the start of the second half, and within three minutes their lead had swollen to 63 – 47.
Maccabi put in Gal Mekel, who responded by scoring his first points of the game, but L.A. continued to pour it on and with two minutes left in the third quarter their lead had grown to 81 – 61.
Eidson played brilliantly for Maccabi, but he wasn’t able to single-handedly get his team back into the game.
The third period ended with the Clippers firmly in the lead, 85 – 66.
Perkins and Eidson continued to dominate for Maccabi in the fourth quarter, but Kaman and Telfair also had great games and protected their team’s double digit lead.
In spite of that, close to the end of the game Maccabi did manage to narrow the gap.
Final score: L.A. Clippers 108 – Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 96.
Maccabi: Eidson 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists; Perkins 16 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 steals; Bluthenthal 12 points; Wisniewski 11 points, 5 rebounds; Lasme and Lampe 9 points each; Green 6 points, 6 rebounds; Pnini 5 points; Fischer and Anderson 4 points each; Mekel 2 points.
Clippers: Kaman 18 points; Telfair 15 points; Griffin 13 points; Butler 12 points; Smith and Gordon 11 points each; B. Davis 10 points; Novak 6 points; R. Davis and Jordan 4 points each; Collins and Rush 2 points each.
David Bluthenthal: “I was very happy and excited to be playing in my first game in a long time.
It was fun to play in front of my family and friends here in L.A.
I feel great and am ready for the season to start.
We played better tonight than we did in New York; we executed the offensive plays better.
Also, we were less tired; in New York we were tired from the long flight from Israel.”
Doron Perkins: “My friends worked hard and helped me make this triple double and I thank them for that.
We had a chance to win, we were close for a lot of the game and it’s disappointing that we lost.
We played hard, and that will help us in the Euroleague.”
Yaniv Green: “The minute of silence in memory of Moni, and seeing the huge photo of him displayed here in Staples Center, were very emotional moments.
We gave everything we could tonight.”