There's nothing to extenuate. AEK had an excellent training match with us. The only problem is that it was in fact a Champions League-game.
Oh well. I hope we could bring at least a few enjoyable moments to AEK.
The only funny moment was when it was still the beginning of the game and the commentator's mother tongue was English. He had troubles with all these Serbian names. But other than this there was no reason at all to be happy. AEK was leading in the first quarter. Once we could take it (8:9, Koprivica), then Hatcher tried to keep the pace (10:11), but it was gone soon. The difference was obvious already at this point. AEK played in a much more determined style, while we...
Eh. Let’s rather not talk about it. The first quarter ended with 22:14, Ratkovica missed out a chance in the very last moment.
AEK reached the 10-point difference immediately in the second quarter (24:14). There was a point when absolutely no goal was scored for two entire minutes. There were only missed-out and/or screwed-up chances. Certain players (Vrabac, Luković) were gone missing. Others, like Robinson or Koprivica broke the rest of my nerves.
It’s a historical moment. Until now I tried to avoid criticising our basketball players by name. But there are certain limits, and if they are crossed, the meltdown is inevitable. While in the meantime I can’t not think of those times when the team was still not corrupted and debauched, when Duško Vujošević was still at his place, when there were always five roaring lions on the court wearing Partizan-jerseys and tore the opponent to pieces as much that they all had to stop and think about the meaning of life. Now we have a bunch of dull, soulless "players" who would be run off even by a team of laboratory rats. Seriously... It seems this level is enough for ABA Liga, but when we are about to step to international levels, we get knocked out.
AEK was leading, sometimes with 10 points, sometimes with even more. Our performance was lvl catastrophe. The half-time result was 42:33. We could gain a few points after 40:29, but AEK scored one just 30 seconds before the end buzz. Better to be safe than sorry.
As for the third quarter, this was one mentionable moment:
It was still 60:50 for the home team two and a half minutes before the end. We could gain a bit of speed though for the last 1-2 minutes so much that we jumped to 64:62. No, we couldn’t take the lead, but it was still a big deal that Hatcher scored a 3-pointer only 4 seconds before the buzz and this way our drawback was only 2 points.
You get what I mean.
These games are good for learing to be happy with small things.
Then for the last quarter it was clear that this speedy performance by us in the last minutes of the previous part was just a momentary flash. AEK gained back its 10-point advantage (74:64) and from then on they were always 9 points ahead. We couldn’t work it out. We were at a loss even at putting ourselves together. What is more, Aleksandar Džikić got a technical foul when he yelled off the referee at 82:73. But even this didn’t do any good, nor harm. AEK did whatever they just wanted. Their players had a party, we were just watching them playing.
AEK Athens: Ukić (7), Sakota (19), Vasileiadis (16), Milošević (10), Dixon (15), Larentzakis (2), Falker, Ivanović (3), Mavroeidis (10), Skoulidas, Williams (9), Tsalmpouris
KK Partizan: Robinson (7), Ratkovica (10), Vrabac (2), Marinković (13), Tanasković, Birčević (12), Koprivica (5), Andrić (5), Hatcher (18), Pot, Karahodžić (3), Luković (6)
Current standing of Group E:
1. Besiktas 12 points
2. AEK 10 points
3. Ludwigsburg 10 points
4. Partizan 9 points
5. Dinamo Sassari 8 points
6. Zielona Gora 8 points
7. Proximus Spirou 8 points
8. Szolnoki Olaj 7 points
(photos: Facebook/KK Partizan)