This short word (emotional expression?) includes the whole game. It was tough, it was a struggle, we didn't play well, we got defeated.
The first quarter wasn’t that bad, though it was clear even then that this Zagreb night won’t be a night to remember. We quickly scored 7 points at the beginning, we were leading to 5:7, then nothing happened for two and a half minutes. Really nothing. Well, all right, there were too many missed-out attempts on both sides. Finally Cedevita equalized in the 4th minute (7:7) and from then on it was a nip-and-tuck game in the first part. A basket here, a basket there. Only one in a minute though. After five and a half minutes the standing was 9:7, after a bit more than six minutes Marinković scored a 3-pointer, 9:10. About a minute later 11:10. You get the point. It wasn’t spectacular, it wasn’t exciting, it was slow. We still won the first quarter though, the standing was 16:16, half a minute was left when Andrić scored (16:18).
In the second quarter Cedevita decided to step over this fumbling and took control in their hands. They jumped to 24:18, though the slow and struggling pace of the game didn't speed up. Croatians were leading, we made a lot of mistakes (I don’t remember when I had seen last time so many offensive rebounds). For our great luck Cedevita was the same effective with pushing the ball to the ring as us, yet still somehow they managed to do it a bit better than us. The standing was 30:22, then 32:25, the pace was again 1 basket/minute for both teams. For the end of the quarter Croatians were ahead with 10 points (36:26). We could nevertheless pick ourselves together for the last minutes and made a 37:30 half-time standing.
We usually drop back a bit in the third quarter every time. This time it looked like this: the struggling pace was still on, together with the million missed out attempts and Cedevita leading to 48:32. There wasn’t any special trick in their game, they had the same struggling pace like us, they made a lot of mistakes like us, just, God knows, maybe mentally they were a bit more collected and they could push through their will despite the fumbling. The difference was almost 20 points (55:36), though finally we could avoid this shame. Birčević (he was the best in this game) and Marinković clenched their teeth and pushed us up to 57:43. A few seconds were left when the Croatians could still force a basket in. (59:43)
In the last quarter we made the difference a bit less (62:50) there was even some slight hope that maybe if we can speed up, we could make it really tough for Cedevita... I think you won’t take it as a spoiler if I say we couldn’t. The Croatian team could hold the 10+ diffeerence, while we struggled to score. Majstorović was fouled out, but it did neither good, nor harm. Croatians were leading to 75:58, we reduced it to 75:63, but at this point there was less than one and a half minutes left from the game. Hatcher scored (77:65), one more Croatian basket slid in 8 seconds before the end, finally Birčević scored a buzzer-beater (79:67).
Cedevita: James (8), Krušlin (6), Boatright (21), Katić (3), Žganec (10), Musa (2), Bilan (14), Shurna, Begić (1), Rogić, Tomas (3), Arapović (11)
KK Partizan: Ratkovica (6), Vrabac, Marinković (12), Veličković (6), Majstorović (4), Birčević (18), Koprivica (5), Andrić (4), Hatcher (8), Pot, Gordon (2), Luković (2)
1. CZ 43 points
2. Cedevita 38 points
3. Budućnost 38 points
4. Partizan 38 points
5. Cibona 33 points
6. Igokea 32 points
7. Union Olimpija 31 points
8. FMP 31 points
9. Karpoš 31 points
10. Mega Leks 30 points
11. MZT Skopje 30 points
12. Mornar Bar 29 points
13. Krka 29 points
14. Zadar 29 points
Independent of the results of the games left Partizan has qualified to the play-offs of ABA Liga.