After all these tonight 300 Partizan-fans could make it to the Nikšić sports hall.
Meanwhile the team warmed up.
There have been not too happy rumours circulating around the team in the past days. Danilo Anđušić’s contract expired, the shooting guard left Partizan (news speak about a Polish team named Anwil Wloclawek signing him - the team takes part in Euroleague). Gossips talked about Jones, too, being unsatisfied with the team’s performance in Adriatic League and he’d like to terminate his contract with Partizan - though for this he’d have to pay a 6-digit retention money to the team. (As he - allegedly - said, it’s not money that’s behind it, the reason is purely our crappy performance.) Božo Đumić, and even Edo Murić was mentioned among those who might possibly leave soon. (Later Đumić denied these news, as for Murić, it is possible that it was a false report.)
So, as you can see, we were preparing against Sutjeska in an especially positive and enthusiastic atmosphere.
Later you’ll get a blogpost about all transfer news, rumours and facts.
Wilson immediately scored (0:2), right after that referees whistled a foul on Vitkovac (why? who knows...), Sutjeska equalized (2:2). Then, for quite a long time, nothing happened. A lot of missed-out attempts on both sides (all of them were rebounding balls), then after almost 3 minutes the home team scored (4:2). Then again (7:2). They even got a free throw (8:2).
We got nervous. We missed out even more attempts while we made a lot of fouls. Sutjeska scored another 3-pointer (11:2), we still couldn’t throw one single basket.
At this point Wilson came off court and Cvetković entered the game. He shook the team up a bit. We reduced the difference to 13:10 (points earned by Cvetković and Jones), but Sutjeska quickly scored 5 more points - the second basket was a 3-pointer buzzer beater. The first quarter ended with 18:10.
The second quarter started, we made it to 18:17 (Đumić, Vrabac, Aranitović), what is more, Aranitović brought us up to 20:19. Nothing seemed to be problematic even at 22:19, Cvetković came, saw and scored (22:21), but here Sutjeska put their top gun into action. They sent Ratko Varda on court.
Ratko Varda is a phenomenon. Not a heart-warming one, but definitely a phenomenon. With his 36 years he is one of those players with the most routine in the League. Back then he started to play in Partizan, then he took an excursion to the NBA, then to Turkey, Spain, Poland, but he played even in Lebanon, while he regularly returned to the former Yugoslavia to play for this or that team. 213 cm height, brutal muscles, stern look, illegitimate beard and fully tattooed upper arms.
He is surely a nice guy off court, but I bet he himself cranks up pretty much this "big bad bastard" look. After all, it’s an excellent weapon against any opponent. He walks out to the court, looks around with that nasty beard and the players of the other team run home and hide under their blankets.
So, at 22:21 Sutjeska sent their top gun on the court and they immediately made a 10-point series. Just for the sake of it. From 22:21 it became 32:21. Jones could score one (32:23), but Sutjeska was ruthless.
They made it to 47:23.
15-point series. I write it down with letters, too: fifteen points. They scored this much.
We scored none.
They ran through us. They threw 3-pointers one after the others.
We scored once, at the very end, from free throw. The first half finished with 47:25, Sutjeska had more than 20 points of advantage.
In the second half we continued where we stopped.
What the hell are we doing in the Adriatic League? We were a second-league team compared to Sutjeska. We were weak and enervated and had a total lack of ideas. Duško Vujošević would have torn everyone’s head off their neck, if he had been there.
We made it to 50:30 with free throws and Murić’s 3-pointer. We tried to keep the 20-point difference, but we tend to fail. Meanwhile Sutjeska could allow themselves to miss out attempts just for fun, and still they were leading to 58:39. They did whatever they wanted. We finished the third quarter with 65:44. Those points we gained, we made mostly from free throws.
In the last quarter again Cvetković and Jones fought and reduced the difference to 69:50. The 20-point difference was still back (72:52). At 77:55 all Average Fan could wonder about with a dry smile whether Sutjeska will be able to make the 30-point difference. Or which team’s performance is worse in this season, the basketball team’s or the football team’s. At 79:59 even that came to my mind that the basketball team’s management earlier made it sure in the press that they fully support Petar Božić, though if I were the head coach, I would probably resign myself, to save the leftovers of my reputation, especially that we lost 12 matches out of 18.
In the meantime Jones cored a 3-pointer (79:62) and here, at the very end we made a 3:9 series, but that wasn’t enough. Probably not even a miracle would have helped us tonight.
At the press conference after the game a journalist openly asked Petar Božić whether he was thinking about resigning, but the head coach immediately replied with a no, saying that it had never even come to his mind.
Dear fellow fans, we should prepare for the worst. It might happen that next season we will have to fight even for getting into Adriatic League.
Sutjeska: Pavlićević (17), Ćalasan, Albijanić (10), Spasojević (4), Čvorović, Korać (3), Žižić (7), Pavić (6), Vranjes (27), Varda (8), Rush, Šalić
Partizan: Cvetković (10), Aranitović (7), Jones (20), Murić (11), Marinković (3), Vitkovac, Đumić (4), Koprivica, Magdevski, Milutinović, Vrabac (4), Wilson (12)
Current standing of the Liga:
1. Budućnost 34 points
2. Cedevita 33 points
3. CZ 31 points
4. Mega Leks 30 points
5. MZT Skopje 26 points
6. Cibona 26 points
7. Krka 26 points
8. Union Olimpija 25 points
9. Tajfun Šentjur 25 points
10. Metalac 25 points
11. Zadar 25 points
12. Partizan 24 points
13. Igokea 24 points
14. Sutjeska 24 points