A few hours before the game some rumours started to circle around the net reporting that FMP (allegedly) had decided to leave the court if Partizan-fans start to mock again Vesna Čović, as they did at the previous home game. This way they would made scandal and perhaps they could squeeze out of the basketball association to suspend us from the championship.
After this Partizan-fans got an unexpected and unpleasant surprise at the entrance of Pionir Hall: a group of raging Crvena Zvezda-fans.
A couple of beloved friends were present at the game.
Meanwhile the team warmed up.
During the national anthem I just had to make this screenshot. Filip Čović in life size.
Referees made us clear at the beginning that they dislike us. FMP brought their usual aggressive foul court press tactics again, but this time we didn’t keep ourself back from this man-to-man fight, but bravely entered. The only problem was that we were fouled for these fights and not the opponent.
It still looked so that things work fine. We were leading to 10:4, FMP’s head coach nervously asked for time-out. While the fans...
Hats off to Partizan-fans, they really didn’t chant that ominous "Čović Vesna, j..... se k’o besna"-rhyme.
Instead they chanted everything else.
After all, this was not forbidden...
In the meantime we reached the two-digit difference (16:6). Wilson and Jones were in excellent shape. Vitkovac threw a hook from an impossible angle (21:9) while a defender was hanging on his neck. Murić had a giant block, for which he was fouled, but when he was brutally blocked at the other side, the referees just waved "go on". However we finished the first part with 24:10.
For the second quarter it was clear that FMP can play the big boss only when they are at home, when only their own fans are around, and the only reason referees don’t wear FMP-shirts is because it would be too obvious. At an away court, against a (much more) professional team FMP is still an average countryside group of players. Partizan was leading with 15 points (29:14), and fans could still find a way to mock Mme Čović. The two sides of the tribune chanted in turns saying
Iiiiiiima jeeeeeedan tim...
Ceo sam život s njiiiiiim...
And so on.
It was genious. No curse words, no vulgarities, but it was still clear-cut.
We were leading to 35:16. As soon as a Partizan-player tried to throw the ball into the ring (especially if it was to be a hook), at least 4 FMP-players jumped on him. Our advantage was still confident, we were leading to 41:26 in the half-time. Vrabac scored a fantastic 3-pointer just 5 seconds before the end buzz.
The beginning of the third quarter looked smooth. We were leading to 46:30, then to 54:36 (with the amazing teamwork of Jones and Marinković), but the referees whistled off impossible things as foul. Of course only for us, to be able to give gift free throws to FMP. Despite their efforts we could rise upt to 20 points of difference (57:37). Vrabac had a giant block, the slow motion replay even showed FMP’s player fumbling it away, but still Vrabac was fouled. Then Veličković got a bonus shot at 62:46. He threw the ball, it seemed to rebound, but still could have fallen into the ring, if an FMP-player hadn’t slapped it off, ending it as a defensive rebound - the referee didn’t whistle. We could still keep our advantage (66:50), though the guest team had a more and more aggressive game. The third part ended with 69:52, but the worst was yet to come.
At the beginning of the last quarter Murić and Čović clashed. All that was visible was that Murić tried to tackle Čović, then Čović pushed his elbow into Murić’s face and then hell broke loose.
Finally referees resolved the situation by giving technical foul to both players. This was the second technical for both, they had to leave the court.
How wonderful it was. (Not.) The fail of logics and moral.
Both teams got their free throws. Partizan scored (73:61), FMP missed it out. Therefore the referees gave them a gift free throw (fouling us again with an impossible reason). That was fine. Good boys. (75:63)
At this point both teams released the beast. Even though FMP's poison-fang was pulled out by sending off Čović, they didn’t get any more sportsmanlike or technically skilled. They played the same man-to-man-fight tactics with full court press, maybe with one less moron on the court. They still got the support from the referees they needed, so the absence of the Boss’s Son wasn’t that prominent. They reduced the difference to 79:73.
Here came the time for Veličković.
Veličković took the team on his back and started to score 3-pointers. FMP-players immediately jumped on him (at least 3 of them at once). Only a few seconds were left from the game, it was in fact wrestling and not basketball on the court. Finally the referee took a deep breath and fouled FMP. Marinković scored from the free throw (87:75), but at the very end FMP just had to get a bonus shot after a score as well as a free throw. After 40 minutes of circus the buzz ended the game and we could celebrate our qualifying to the final. Aunt Vesna is done, now come uncle Čoki and his pitbulls.
KK Partizan: Cvetković (2), Aranitović, Jones (16), Murić (8), Marinković (8), Veličković (20), Vitkovac (8), Đumić, Milutinović (1), Williams (5), Vrabac (3), Wilson (16)
FMP: Čović (9), Davidovac (5), Ostojić, Apić (14), Jeković, Đoković (8), Lazarević (14), Bursać (2), Dobrić (6), Šešlija (4), Radovanović, Tejić (16)