Maccabi started with the usual Euroleague lineup of Andrew Wisniewski, Guy Pnini, Alan Anderson, Chuck Eidson and D’or Fischer.
The home team started with Charles Smith, Bootsy Thornton, Kaya Peker, Kerem Tunceri, and Mario Kasun.
The Turkish team got off to a quick start, enjoying a 9 – 0 scoring run in the first four minutes of the game.
Maccabi, meanwhile, missed their first seven shots, not scoring until Wiz nailed a three pointer.
He was quickly followed by Pnini, making it a 9 – 6 game halfway through the period.
Just when it looked like Maccabi was back in the game, Efes went on another run, and with less than three minutes left in the quarter their lead had swollen to 17 – 8.
David Bluthenthal and Eidson were 100% from the charity stripe, and Anderson executed one of his classic up-the-middle moves, but it wasn’t enough and the first quarter ended with Efes Pilsen leading 21 – 14.
The second quarter saw Maccabi’s bench execute most of the points, starting with two each from Doron Perkins and Bluthenthal.
Raviv Limonad had an excellent period, with steals and fast-breaks.
Just before the halfway mark, Perkins tied the score at 24, then gave Maccabi the lead for the first time in the game with one of his patented drives through the paint.
Eidson sent a pretty assist to Fischer who dunked it, and Limonad added another couple of points with a layup before being called for his second foul, 30 – 26 Maccabi with just over three minutes left in the half.
That was the biggest, and last, lead Maccabi saw in the game.
Efes Pilsen went on a 9 – 0 run to close out the half with the lead back in their hands, 35 – 30.
The home team sent their starting five back on the court for the beginning of the second half, while Maccabi went with Perkins, Lasme, and Bluthenthal instead of Wisniewski, Fischer and Pnini.
Once again the bench came through, shutting Efes down defensively and tying the score at 37 halfway through the period on a three-pointer from Perk.
But the Turks came back to life, retaking the lead and stretching it to five, 45 – 40 with two minutes left in the period.
Wiz and Anderson scored to cut the lead to one with half a minute remaining, but a final basket by Efes finished the quarter with their lead back to three, 47 – 44.
Efes Pilsen started strong in the fourth quarter, while Maccabi continued to struggle from three point range.
A steal by Perkins led to an enormous three from Bluthenthal to make it 51 – 48 after three minutes.
Both sides had a run of missed shots, but the hosts kept the lead.
A mid-ranger jumper by Fish made it a one point game, 54 – 53 with three minutes left, but Pilsen quickly responded with four points to keep Maccabi back.
Bluthenthal had time to nail another three from the left wing, 58 – 56, but Pilsen hung on to win the game.
Final score: Efes Pilsen 63, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 56.
Maccabi: Bluthenthal 15 points, 5 rebounds; Perkins 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists; Fischer 9 points, 7 rebounds; Anderson 7 points; Wisniewski 5 points; Limonad 4 points; Pnini 3 points; Eidson 2 points; Lasme 2 points, 5 rebounds.
Efes Pilsen: Kasun 14 points; Smith 11 points; Tunceri 8 points; Thornton 7 points; Rakocevic and Nachbar 6 points each; Arslan 3 points; Santiago, Peker, Popovic and Kuqo 2 points each.
“We did 50% of the work, and I’m looking on the positive side,” said Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon after the loss.
“We had an opportunity to win this game and we messed up.
Everyone knew my screenplay ahead of time, but the director changed things a little.
We missed too many easy, open shots and turned the ball over when we shouldn’t have.”
The coach continued: “The work now moves on to next week.
Now we have to beat Siena by at least 5 points to be in at least second place in our group.
We have to give some credit to our defense, who did a pretty good job; we just didn’t finish the job.
If we had given them 8 fewer points from offensive rebounds, the game would have ended differently, but you can’t have everything.”