We should mention though that we could make it with greater-than-life luck and we could take advantage of Zvezda’s boosting self-confidence thinking that this night they would celebrate. If I can be brutally honest: this game was rather lost by Zvezda than won by us.
But sports are not about "rather"-s and luck, but about points and/or goals. At the end it’s only the result that matters.
Warning: I might anger some people with this blogpost, but despite the end result I won’t be gentle and forgiving to anyone.
We had a horrible start. There’s nothing to attenuate on it. I have never seen such a terrible, crappy game start by this team (I’ve been watching them for 3+ years now). We could score ONLY FIVE (5) POINTS in the entire quarter. Not more, not less. Five.
They were all scored by Jones.
We shat into the pants. There were five scared field mice on the court running circles. It was a shame. No excuse.
The quarter ended with 13:5. Okay, Zvezda didn’t push themselves either, but as I said earlier, they were too sure about their victory.
The second quarter started with the fight of Veličković and Miller.
Referees solved it by giving technical foul to both.
This time the main official of the game was a different referee, not that one from the previous two games. If I wanted to crack a weak joke, I’d say maybe that was the reason why we could win now. What’s sure is that this time (at least at the beginning of the game) there were definitely much less fouls and openly biased judgements by the referees. Though later they made it up for the large-scale production, so to speak.
We picked ourseves together a bit (15:10). We took advantage of Zvezda missing out many attempts. Veličković was on the top. He scored a lot of 3-pointers, we can thank mainly to him that we reduced the difference to 24:22 and we could even keep it. Once we even took the lead. Murić first equalized (26:26), then he got a free throw as well and scored one (26:27). It didn’t last long though (28:27). Both teams struggled with no result. Finally referees commiserated Zvezda and gave them a free throw at the end of the quarter. We finished the first half with a two-point drawback (29:27).
In the third quarter Williams joined us
where the hell was he in the first half?...
and we immediately sped up.
We equalized (29:29), we took the lead (29:31) and kept it (37:39). Williams made a fantastic series and he didn’t stop (39:41). Zvezda equalized (43:43), for a short while they took back the lead (45:43), then we were leading again with Murić’s 3-pointer. This was when Zvezda’s overconfidence striked back. We didn’t just lead (47:50), but what Vrabac did at the end buzz, that was unbelievable.
There’s a video about this scene:
The quarter ended with 47:53.
Yes, we were leading. Still there was something that made me sad, or at least turned off my mood enough that I could't be happy with the standing. Namely I saw nobody with enough pulling power for the whole team. Neither this time, nor during the past 5-6 games. Okay, Veličković and his great routine helped us getting out of the bottom, but he had to do it all alone, because the others did not help or assist him. Okay, a few players had some good moments, e.g. this great 3-pointer by Vrabac, or Williams’s performance in the 3rd quarter. But on one hand none of these had a balanced performance, on the other the rest of the team was just a grey mass. Wilson was invisible, Murić excelled mostly with his faults during the past games. As for the rest, the only reason I remember them is because I see a few of their names in my notes near the scores. None of them had any remarkable moments. And this is unadmittable, because this is PARTIZAN and not just a nameless team from the countryside.
Then came the last quarter where we demonstrated how to gain a 15-point advantage, then we demonstrated right there how to lose it until almost the last point.
At first we were leading, almost confidently (50:59). We reached the two-digit difference (52:62). Hey, people, it’s the last quarter and we are leading with 10 points! What is more, with Jones’s 3-pointer it was 52:65. Aranitović showed himself, too (52:67). 15 points, in the last quarter!!!
It was reduced immediately to 10 points (57:67). Murić scored a 3-pointer (57:70) three minutes before the end. At 62:72 Veličković was fouled out, while Zvezda sped up (65:72). Full court press, combat fights, Vrabac was fouled in an impossible situation. Even ArenaSport’s commentators didn’t believe their eyes... Only 50 seconds were left, the standing was 70:73. Zvezda was struggling hard, while we desperately tried to defend the result. Wilson raised our advantage a bit from free throw (70:75), Zvezda scored 9 seconds before the end (72:75). In the most critical moment Wilson dropped the ball out of his hand. For our XXXXL-sized luck there were only 2-3 seconds left and Zvezda had no time to change the standing.
Here’s a video about this circus:
Then it ended. The standing is 2:1 now for the neighbourhood. The next game will be on Thursday, at 21:00 on ArenaSport 1.
Crvena Zvezda: Kinsey (10), Rebić, Dangubić (4), Mitrović (4), Lazić (4), Micić (3), Simonović (15), Gudurić (3), Jović (5), Miller (5), Zirbes (19), Štimac
KK Partizan: Aranitović (4), Jones (13), Murić (12), Marinković, Veličković (13), Vitkovac (4), Đumić, Magdevski, Milutinović (8), Williams (12), Wilson (4)