Partizan knocked out Prokom 61-59
A huge thriller went down on Wednesday night in Belgrade as Partizan mt:s survived Asseco Prokom by a single basket, 61-59, in a Group A duel. After many lead changes during the game and leads that were never larger than seven points, it all came down to the last play as James Gist, who had shot for 3 of 14 from the field at that point, lifted a winning layup that would send the Grobari fans into a frenzy. The win allows Partizan to improve to a 5-4 record in Group A and gets closer to the Top 16, while Asseco Prokom drops to 2-7 and is mathematically out of the Top 16 race. Rasko Katic led the winners with his 14 points, Gist added 12 and Jan Vesely poste 11 for the winners. For Asseco Prokom, Dan Ewing and Ratko Varda had 15 points apiece and Filip Videnov added 10. The 14 turnovers of the guests, many in key moments, were a crucial factor in the loss of the Polish team.
Rasko Katic was the go-to guy for Partizan in the starting minutes as 6 points by hime allowed the hosts to dominate the scoreboards. Ratko Varda fired a
three to start Asseco Prokom and Dan Ewing overcame the Partizan defense easy to make it 7-5 for the hosts. With aggressive defense, Prokom tried to hold
Partizan back, but with Nathan Jawai on court, the frontcourt of the hosts got stronger and he soon started contributing points with free throws. A huge
alley-oop for James Gist made it 11-5 for Partizan, and Jawai soon added a big layup underneath to make it 13-8 to enter the last minute of the period. A
couple of free throws allowed the hosts to increase the lead a little more as Katic had a huge block to leave things at 15-8 after 10 minutes.
Prokom started the second quarter with strong defense which allowed for fast transitions in offense that produced two straight threes by Filip Videnov and
Ewing for a 15-14 that forced Partizan's timeout. Jan Vesely broke more than two minutes without points for the hosts with a jumper as Partizan kept amassing
rebounds over the rival. Ewing was a solid contributor for his team but Videnov also proved a major boost to his team's performance as he finally tied the
game with his second three at 19-19 and then scored a jumper that put Asseco Prokom ahead for the first time, 20-21. The uptempo game seemed to be favoring
the guests, but Partizan was still the solid team under the glasses and some offensive rebounds allowed them to stay in the game as Vladimir Lucic hit a
jumper and then Partizan's first three of the game to keep the hosts ahead, 27-25. Varda's final free throw put an end to the first half with a 27-26
The second half started with all guns blazing. Curtis Jerrells opened fire for Partizan and Jan Jagla hit a lyup to keep th rhythm for Prokom. Two quick
baskets by the hosts however, especially a monste dunk by Vesely, forced a timeout for the guests with 33-28. The timeout had its effect as soon the guests
were back within 33-30 as Varda scored. However, both defenses started to force mistakes on the rival now as more than three minutes went by until Ewing hit
it for Prokom again to make it a one-point game. Partizan only found points through Kecman from the charity stripe and the guests had good ball circulation
to keep it close at 35-34. A three by Jagla followed by an easy Ewing jumper put Prokom ahead again at 36-39 while Partizan kept on clashing against the
defensive wall set by the guests until Vesely beat the 24-second clock with a three that brought the Grobari fans to their feet. Videnov and Adam Lapeta were
driving the Partizan defense crazy by themselves, but it was Ewing who squeezed in a last jumper to leave the guests ahead after 30 minutes, 39-41.
Partizan started missing a couple easy shots by the beginning of the decisive period, but Gist finally managed to hit a new basket by slamming over the
Prokom defense to draw the foul and make it 42-41. J.R. Giddens had the fast reply for the guests while Partizan insisted on threes that didn't fall in
making it a 2 of 20 at that point. With Videnov relying on shorter distances, Asseco Prokom jumped to 42-45 in a game that looked like a thriller from every
perspective. Vesely finally blasted a huge three from the corner to tie the game again but Varda showed his skills in the paint for the fast reply and then added a three for the 47-50. However, in a delicate moment of the game Ewing was called for a technical foul that allowed Kecman to hit both free throws and Jerrells to hit an impossible layup to put Partizan back ahead, 51-50. A couple steals for each side didn't allow the scoreboard to move as the game entered the last three minutes. There was no real flow to the game now and individualities, like a huge three by Kecman when his team needed it the most, were driving the game. Also, turnovers were coming at a bad time for Prokom and the hosts dominated 55-52 and had the possession. Jerrells fed Katic an amazing assist but Giddens replied with a three. So did Gist to bring the house down with 90 seconds to go and 59-55. Varda put back his own miss as the game entered the last minute. After a steal, Burrell hit two free throws with 9 seconds to go and tied the game at 59-59. Rescuing a loose ball, Gist lifted a layup over the Prokom defense to make it 61-59 with less than one second to go. Coach Tomas Pacesas called for the timeout to try to fix the situation, but the Ewing pass for Lapeta was not good enough and Partizan survived a tough situation.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010