Thursday, February 23, 2017

KK Partizan - PAOK 78:82 (Champions League, play-off, return match)

This is very very painful now. It was just at an arm’s length and we put our souls to the court.
Before the game the team greeted Miša Tumbas, who celebrated his 63rd birthday now.


The football team also came to support the basketball boys.



Marko Nikolić got THIS huge welcome.

The atmosphere was fantastic. Fans again chanted together "PAOK-Partizan", the entire sports hall was one giant black-and-white cavalcade.

Then kickstart...
...and PAOK jumped to 2:11. Then to 6:18. No idea how. It was awful to see.
Then came Andrić and it was 13:18.
Again no idea how. It just happened. There were a few moments at the game like this, that events had a 180-degree turn within the blink of an eye. Nevertheless 8 seconds before the end of the first quarter Veličković adjusted the standing to 16:18, which means an actual 10:0-series by us. It definitely looked much better than 6:18.

Stefan Pot played with these "duct tapes"

The second quarter was amazing.
For a while.
We equalized (18:18). We took the lead with Pot’s free throw (20:18). There were quite a number of free throws at this point, but independent of them we could maintain our pace (25:20). The Greek team still wanted to have their word, they equalized (27:27), then took back the lead (28:30). PAOK pressured hard, we just tried to find our breath. We constantly lost the ball, Greeks stole it or made turnovers, so that we had almost no chances for any field goal. Our drawback grew to 10 points (30:40), the first half ended with 32:47.

Half of Partizan’s squad struggled with vomitting, diarrhoea and high fever. The other half was still exhausted after last week-end’s cup final. They still fought as much as they could.
Yes. Now you stand up and salute for them.

Mihajlo Andrić, one of the match’s heroes

The third quarter was the toughest. PAOK’s advantage was more than 10 points for the whole time. We struggled with clenched teeth, we fell apart, we played enervated. Here it seemed all was lost and all we could do was to die with chins up. Though Veličković scored a buzzer-beater at the end of the quarter, this was great to see despite all. We faced death the last part with 50:64.
Dear everyone,
What we did in the last quarter... it was unbelievable.
We opened it with Robinson’s 3-pointer (53:64). We started to reduce our difference step by step. The standing was 59:68, here PAOK realized they might have got into trouble if they hadn’t found out something. So they jumped to 59:76. Again it looked so that all is lost. The standing was 63:78, Birčević was knocked out by a PAOK-player, Andrić almost knocked out the Greek one in exchange... A bit more than 1 minute was left, the standing was 70:80, when PAOK’s coach asked for time-out.
Then we returned to the court.
Veličković scored (72:80). 1 minute and 8 seconds are left. Pionir Hall is like an erupting volcano. Greeks attack, but referees whistle it off, offensive foul. It’s our turn. Great battle on the court. Clanton gets fouled out, we get a free throw (73:82). 44 seconds are left, Andrić scores a huge 3-pointer (76:82). The entire hall is on their feet, everyone is shouting on the top of their lungs. Players wrestle for the ball, the referees whistle it off. It’s PAOK’s turn now. But Veličković makes a turnover and scores (78:82). PAOK’s coach again asks for time-out. It’s 3 million degrees Celsius in Pionir Hall. The whole Partizan is one big heart now. 25 seconds are left. Veličković gets fouled out. Only 23 seconds are left. PAOK gets a free throw... and they miss it out! Both!
But time’s up.
We couldn’t make it.
That was all.

Nenad Čanak made a great job not just now, but also last week-end during the cup final, substituting Aleksandar Džikić, who is also struggling with the virus


KK Partizan: Robinson (7), Ratkovica (2), Vrabac (8), Tanasković, Veličković (19), Majstorović (2), Birčević (11), Andrić (11), Pot (11), Gordon, Luković (7)

PAOK: Chrysikopoulos (2), Koniaris, Tsochlas, Margaritis (12), McFadden (26), Miljenović (2), Glyniadakis (1), Karamanolis, Sibert (16), Papadopoulos, Peniers (15), Clanton (8)


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