By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv lost to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 70-65 at Nokia Arena in week 6 of the Euroleague regular season, and drops to 4-2 in Group D. Shawn James led Maccabi's scorers with 16 points. David Blu added 12 points and Ricky Hickman contributed 11 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Tyrese Rice, Ricky Hickman, Joe Ingles, Devin Smith and Sofo Schortsanitis. The game got off to a slow start for both teams, with Laboral scoring the first points after a minute and a half. The visitors continued to move the ball well, jumping to a 12-4 lead just past the halfway mark. Maccabi began crafting their entry into the game with points by James and two straight buckets (one from downtown) by Rice that made it 17-12 to the visitors. James added a putback and David Blu stole the ball and went the distance for a dunk that put Maccabi within one, 17-16. Laboral scored at the buzzer to make it 20-16.
Once again it was Blu who put Maccabi within one, with a trey from the right corner, 22-21 after about a minute of play in the second quarter. James added a huge block on defense, and Sylven Landesberg drained a three from the left wing to put Maccabi within three, 27-24 close to halfway through the period. The Spaniards continued to make things difficult for Maccabi, but points by Schortsanitis, Hickman and Landesberg tied the score for the first time with just under two minutes left in the half. Hickman scored the go-ahead points from the foul line, but Leo Mainoldi responded quickly for Laboral. A slick play from Blu to James to Landesberg for the slam put Maccabi back on top 35-34 as the teams went into the halftime break.
Maccabi came out strong in the early minutes of the third quarter, with points from James and Hickman and strong defense that held the guests scoreless for the first three minutes, 43-34. But once Laboral finally scored, they kept it coming with a 7-0 run that put them within two, 43-41. Buckets by Ingles and Blu were matched and trumped by points from the visitors, and the period ended with Laboral once again in the lead, 51-49.
The early minutes of the fourth quarter were close, with Laboral scoring and Maccabi closing the gap back down until a bucket by Walter Hodge for the visitors made it 57-53 after four minutes of action. The Spaniards opened a six point lead, but two straight buckets by James (assists Ingles and Hickman) made it 63-61. Maccabi wasn't able to find the basket, and Laboral had soon opened a five point lead, 67-62 with :20 on the clock. Points from outside the arc by Blu weren't enough, and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv lost to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 70-65 in week 6 of the Euroleague regular season.