Not only because we won, but also because I haven’t seen such a great atmosphere at any game. Neither at basketball, nor at football or any other.
The fans - both Greek and Serbian - were chanting BOTH teams while holding each other by the shoulder. Together. Greek and Serbian flags were waving and the sports hall echoed the chanting "PAOK PARTIZAN".
THANK YOU PAOK! See you in Belgrade! #BasketballCL
Posted by KK Partizan on Wednesday, February 8, 2017
There are photos, too, the tribune looked like this:
Many greetings and high five to the Greeks for being such amazing hosts. Thank you so much. It was great to see this.
This similar, friendly atmosphere was present on the court, too. The two teams had a game in the spirit of true fair play. No battles, no fights, no brutal clashes, vivisection, brutality, but tricks and dribbles. It was really a joy to wach.
Of course there was basketball, too. In the first quarter we made amazing things. We made a 10-point advantage with an easy, determinate game (10:20, 12:22). The Greek players just watched us with a slight resignation as Hatcher or Ratkovica did magic with the ball. At this point it looked like a smooth beer-game. The quarter ended with 14:22.
In the second quarter we slowed down a bit. Referees whistled off our actions time after time, the pace of the first quarter dropped. The Greek team started to slowly reduce the difference, from 16:24 it became 23:27. The atmosphere on the tribunes was like a fiesta.
Our 10-point advantage was back (25:35), then we jumped to 27:40. Fiesta on the tribunes, fiesta on the court, the half-time result was 32:40.
For the third part our pace dropped even more. In the middle of the quarter PAOK jumped to 39:44, they were closer and closer - so close that for the end they took the lead (53:51). We equalized (53:53), but right at the end buzz they scored a 3-pointer. We were heading into the final part with 56:53.
A shy question: could we maybe find out something for this? I mean e.g. for a bit more balanced performance, to avoid this drop in the pace for the third quarter.
Luković equalized right at the beginning of the fourth quarter, then we took back the lead (56:58). We could keep a minimal advantage, but PAOK was still, continuously behind us, always with only 2-3 points. Fouls happened too often, Margaritis seemed to have an especially bad day, he had an offensive foul at least 3 times in a row. The last part of the game brought an very good, exciting and enjoyable game. Less than a minute was left, we were leading to 68:71, when the hall’s scoreboard decided to go on strike. The game halted, fans were singing, players were talking to each other in a very friendly manner, it was all very jovial. Finally the scoreboard came back to life, we could play the last 48 seconds. This very last part still kept some excitement, only 24 seconds were left, PAOK reduced the difference to 2 points (71:73), Ratkovica quickly made us feel safe 5 seconds before the end (71:76), the Greek team squeezed in a 3-pointer in the very last seconds (74:76). It was time to celebrate, together as well as separated.
Return game will be on 22nd February in Belgrade.
PAOK: Chrysikopulos (8), Koniaris (3), Tsochlas (2), Margaritis (7), McFadden (20), Miljenović (5), Glyniadakis, Karamanolis, Sibert (18), Papadopulos, Peiners (7), Clanton (4)
KK Partizan: Robinson (2), Ratkovica (10), Vrabac, Marinković (10), Majstorović, Birčević (10), Koprivica (2), Andrić (8), Hatcher (27), Pot, Karahodžić (2), Luković (5)