Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mighty Partizan Overpower Olympiacos

Belgrade, Nov.28, 2009 (Serbia Today) - David has beaten Goliath. Partizan basketball team beat Olympiacos 86-80 in the fifth match of the Euroleague on Thursday night.
Piraeus’s dream team was conquered in the hostile environment of Belgrade’s Pionir Arena, owing to the home team’s fanatic battling and bravery, which seemed to feed off their role as underdogs.
Both teams struggled with their attacking strategies in the first period, especially Partizan, and after five minutes of play Olympiacos was up 11-2. The somewhat quiet Bo McCalebb woke up, with the assists coming from Bozic and Rasic and Partizan managed to reduce the early deficit to 17-14. However, Olympiacos’ Milos Teodosic made a couple of quick moves towards Childress and the Greeks increased their lead, before Partizan’s Rasic had his moment with an assist and a three-pointer to follow.
Rasic already had 10 points after the first period, keeping Partizan level at 19-19 at the end of the quarter.
Carried by the unique support of 7,000 strong Grobari fans, Partizan scored in the first attack of the second period, going into the lead for the first time in the game.
The Belgrade side’s Jan Vesely then got into foul trouble, while the Czech has failed to finish a single Euroleague game this season due foul trouble. Partizan’s guards were terrific and Olympiacos coach Panagiotis Giannakis was forced to substitute Teodosic and reshuffle the cards.
Then, two minutes before halftime, Partizan allowed the visitors to go on three unanswered attacks, which meant Olympiacos restored their lead at 38-34. Partizan then raised their defense and kept themselves in the game, closing the gap on the Greek team. In the final seconds of the first half Yotam Halperin hit a three-pointer and the Greeks converting another attack, leaving Olympiacos up five points up at halftime – 43-38.
Partizan then had nothing to lose and was relaxed and inspired in the third period. What followed were blocks, dunks and aggressive defensive plays from Partizan. The Greeks held on and were leading 61-60 at the start of the final period.
Partizan opted for a pressing defensive strategy straight from the blocks in the final quarter and were unstoppable one-on-one when on the attack. McCalebb and Roberts were at fault on a couple of occasions, fast learning the traits of European basketball, which allowed Olympiacos to increase their lead to four points.
Rasic then contributed with a few terrific three pointers and a win was on the horizon for the first time for Partizan with four minutes left. McCalebb then committed his fifth personal foul and Partizan was left without the services of the point guard. The match was marred by an incident when Olympiacos player Halperin was hit with a paper roll on the head.
When the play resumed, Partizan’s Aleksandar Maric went on a run for five points to push Partizan ahead and increase the gap to seven. Partizan was calm in the dying moments of the game, interrupted by frequent fouling and subsequent free throws. The final thirty seconds must have been a lifetime for some Partizan players, as they waited for the second game of the group stage in the Euroleague to become an official win. Partizan’s top scorers were Rasic with 25 points and Maric with 20 points.

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