Real Madrid overcame Partizan mt:s 56-61
Despite totally controlling the first half, Real Madrid had to suffer in the second and even rally from behind to finally escape Belgrade with a 56-61 win against Partizan mt:s. The win allows Real Madrid to win Group G thanks to its 5-0 perfect record so far. Partizan, who was already eliminated before this game, stays winless at 0-5 and will not be able to win a home game in front of its fervent fans. Things looked bad for Partizan after 20 minutes since the guests dominated by 18-33. However, a 16-1 run after resumption put the hosts back in the game and in the last period they even led by three points, 51-48, but the man of the game for Real Madrid, Nikola Mirotic, came back to the rescue to put the win in a safe place. Ante Tomic led the winners with 21 points, Sergio Llull and Mirotic added 13 each and Sergio Rodriguez contributed 10 to the win. For Partizan, Jan Vesely led the way with his 15 points, Rasko Katic added 14 and Dusan Kecman nailed 11.
In the mandatory great atmosphere at the Belgrade Arena, the game started on a high note for both sides. Trying to run all the time, Partizan had the biggest
contribution from big man Rasko Katic, who kept showing his repertoire in the paint while for Real Madrid Ante Tomic was the first man to step up. Katic
scored again for the 6-4 and Sergio Llull hit from downtown to make it 6-7. Looking for fast individual plays, Partizan seemed to find Katic over and over
and he was soon up to 8 points when he scored free throws for 10-7. Tomic soon tied the game again for the guests and then completed an alley-oop with Pablo
Prigioni. The Real Madrid defense was starting to stop Partizan inside and forcing fast baskets in offense to force a timeout of the hosts. It didn't have
the desired effect as Partizan kept collecting turnovers as Real Madrid escalated to a 0-8 run to make it 10-15. Nathan Jawai broke the spell from the line
for the hosts to make it 12-15 after 10 minutes.
The second quarter was the same story as the last minutes of the first. Partizan was struggling in offense and in defense it could not stop the battery of
baskets that fell from inside and outside. Sergio Rodriguez gave the guests a new face on the court and he scored and assisted as Real Madrid kept climing
basket by basket to a 14-23 after Tomic's new basket. The Croatian big man of Real Madrid had no opposition and scored again and again to make it 14-31 until
Jan Vesely slammed the ball to stop the new run of the guests. There was still time for a new Vesely basket right after D'Or Fischer's dunk, that would send
the game into the halftime break with a 18-33 Real Madrid edge.
The scenario changed completely in the first few minutes of the second half. Partizan stepped up in defense and managed to be more efficient in offense and in no time the scoring run was 10-1 thanks to points by Vesely, Kecman and Katic. Real Madrid only found the net with Novica Velckovic's free throw as the guests called a timeout with a 28-34 score. Things didn't change however. Katic appeared again to raise the run to 16-1 to tie the game at 34-34, but Partizan didn't manage to complete the comeback. Thanks to crutial baskets by Mirotic, Real Madrid was back in the game and finally Sergio Rodriguez scored to make it 36-44 after 30 minutes.
Two free throws by James Gist opened the last period and Kecman soon joined in with a three-point play to put Partizan close again at 41-44. Rodriguez kept his cool for a six-meter jumper, and then he counter-attacked a three by Jaka Klobucar to keep the guests in the lead, 44-48. Kecman showed his stripes now in the hosts to score a fadeaway jumper that make it a one-point game again, as both teams started putting their hearts on court to win the game. Thanks to controlling the defensive rebounds now, Partizan earned the chance to jump ahead and Vesely obliged from the stripe by hitting both attempts to put the hosts finally ahead, 49-48. James Gist appeared to even earn his team a three-point cushion but Mirotic was the man now for Real Madrid, his points keeping the guests in the game with less than three minutes to go. Tomic put the guests ahead again and then Llull drove in traffic to make it 52-54 and 120 seconds to go. Vesely stepped up with an offensive rebound and slam to tie again to the roaring of the crowd, but Tomic hit back with a three-point play to make it 54-57. The game entered the last minute with Kecman scoring twice from the line for 56-57, but Tomic had a nice move with a hook to put Madrid ahead by three once more. In one of the last plays, Partizan had two chances to shoot from beyond the arc, but both shots were not successful and Mirotic grabbed a board and suffered a foul that sent him to the line. He scored both attempts to make it 56-61 and closing the deal for Real Madrid, who won the Top 16 group while Partizan remained winless in this phase.
Thursday, February 24, 2011