Yes, the opponent ground us. The only reason the referees didn’t wear red-white striped jerseys is probably that they have to have a mandatory uniform on. Yes, the opponent’s fans threw the dirtiest, most vulgar curses on us (for which the basketball association will surely not punish them, or even if they will, it will be only something token).
Still there’s no explanation for our weak performance, nor for the fact that there are seemingly no useful tactics against Zvezda’s grinding style.
At the beginning we led for a short while
it says all that less than a minute passed when referees fouled Murić, nobody knows why
Jones threw baskets for us, but then they took the lead (10:9). Cvetković equalized from free throw (10:10), but they immediately took back the lead (12:10). Referees gave a row of gift free throws to the other side, but even worse was that we couldn’t score any 3-pointers. Players were wrestling for the ball, Zvezda brought the best out of their man-to-man-fight tactics. These brought them a lot of steals and they paid off. The first quarter ended with 21:15, with some exaggeration we can say that the match also ended here.
The second quarter started with a struggle. No scores on both sides for long. Finally we reduced the difference to 2 points with the baskets of Cvetković and Vitkovac (24:22).
Then Zvezda jumped to 32:22.
In the meantime referees supported them with small, sometimes invisible but still significant actions. E.g. they didn’t mind a Partizan-player being smashed to the court, or they validated Zvezda’s almost-over-the-buzz score with a broad smile (had Partizan scored the same way, that would have been surely invalid).
We struggled. Zvezda made a 10:1 series, from us only Jones (34:25) and Veličković (39:27) could score. The hall was covered with smoke, after a few firecrackers were thrown
did I see well that one of them almost hit Murić?
and Zvezda threw just another basket at the half-time buzz. It was high time to end the first half. (42:27)
In the third quarter Zvezda continued to grind us, while we just couldn’t take up the gauntlet. We were just fumbling... And then Cvetković got injured after clashing with the opponent, he couldn’t continue the game.
Zvezda put us under very heavy pressure. It was so hard that we couldn’t even throw the ball and ran out of time. Or if someone was brave enough to break under the backboard, he got torn to pieces. They did whatever they wanted... they reached the 20-point-difference as well (58:38).
It just came to my mind that we deserve to be behind them this much for this impotent performance.
The quarter ended with 64:39.
The last quarter was merely a desperate struggle by us.
National team member Štimac was the biggest disappointment. He has been turned into a real moron (and he seemingly didn’t protest against this role). Do state dotation and the presence of this political mastodon Nebošja Čović matter this much?...
We collapsed. It’s needless to get into details... Zvezda took advantage of all our weaknesses.
Next game will be on Sunday from 21:00. ArenaSport 1 broadcasts it live.
Crvena Zvezda: Kinsey (2), Rebić, Dangubić, Mitrović (8), Micić (9), Simonović (11), Gudurić (1), Jović (15), Miller (24), Zirbes (6), Štimac (5)
KK Partizan: Cvetković (6), Aranitović (2), Jones (9), Murić (3), Marinković, Veličković (3), Vitkovac (2), Đumić (4), Milutinović (2), Williams (10), Vrabac (4), Wilson (8)