By Amy Samin
Pini Gershon took a chance on Yaniv Green, putting the Israeli veteran in the starting lineup for Maccabi, and was rewarded with five fast points.
A three-pointer from Chuck Eidson put Maccabi up 8 – 0 after two minutes of play, when the teams went into a time-out.
Ivanovic lit a fire under his boys, who came out after the break and scored 9 – 0 against the visitors.
Two threes from Andrew Wisniewski put Maccabi back on top, 16 – 15 five and a half minutes into the quarter.
Maccabi continued to do well on offense, with Alan Anderson (basket plus foul) and Eidson (a beauty from the corner) each adding three to put Maccabi up 25 – 18, but Tiago Splitter remained unstoppable for the Spaniards, and his points under the basket and a near half-court shot at the buzzer by Marcelinho Huertas sealed a 7 – 0 scoring run for the hosts and tied the game at 25 all as the first period ended.
Caja Laboral continued to run in the second quarter, and soon took a six point lead, but Maccabi came back with a 7 – 0 run of their own, retaking the lead off a shot from outside the arc by Wiz, 32 – 31.
The Spaniards responded with another 6 point run of their own, but a three-pointer from the corner by David Bluthenthal put Maccabi back within two, 37 – 35.
The Spaniards kept increasing their lead until Anderson’s free throws with four minutes left in the half put Maccabi within four, 43 – 39.
The home team kept running, going 8 – 0 and their lead swelled to double digits, 51 – 39 with a minute and a half left.
Maciej Lampe was able to chip away at the deficit by three, but the half ended with Caja Laboral firmly in the lead, 55 – 44.
The third quarter opened with another three-pointer by Lampe, but overall Maccabi’s offense wasn’t at top form.
Raviv Limonad drove to the basket within seconds of entering the game, and closed the gap to 58 – 51.
Another long three from Lampe plus fantastic play by Chuck Eidson put Maccabi within four, 63 – 59 halfway through the period.
Lasme had a great defensive quarter, stopping the big Spaniards under the basket almost single-handedly, and a long three by Bluthenthal closed out the quarter, with Caja Laboral in the lead, 69 – 66.
The start of the fourth quarter saw Maccabi continuing their scoring run from the end of the third (14 – 0 all told) with two three-pointers from Bluthenthal and a free throw by Doron Perkins, and the visitors retook the lead, 73 – 69.
Splitter and the Spaniards quickly tied the game, then regained the lead, 80 – 77 with three minutes left on the clock.
Bluthenthal and Anderson were each called for offensive fouls, while Splitter gave Caja Laboral a five point lead with just seconds remaining.
A layup by Perkins wasn’t enough to put Maccabi back in the game, and time ran out with the score Caja Laboral 86 – Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 81.
Maccabi: Lampe 18 points, 7 rebounds; Eidson 16 points, 4 assists; Wisniewski and Bluthenthal 12 points each; Anderson 9 points; Yaniv Green 7 points; Perkins 6 points; Limonad 2 points; Lasme 2 points, 7 rebounds.
Caja Laboral: Splitter 26 points; Huertas 16 points; San Emeterio and Eliyahu 12 points each; Oleson and Ribas 6 points each; Micov and Barac 3 points each; Teletovic 2 points.