Partizan rallies to beat Maccabi in closing seconds
Partizan NIS Belgrade rallied from a 15-point deficit and survived a thrilling ending to down Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 72-70 on Thursday night at Kombank Arena in the Serbian capital. The win improved Partizan to 3-8 in Group F and kept its slim playoff hopes alive, while Maccabi dropped to 7-4 and sits in the third place in the standings. A Maccabi win would have clinched a playoff berth for Coach David Blatt’s men. The visitors took control early, with Sofoklis Schortsantis dominating inside, and four different players hitting from long range in the building of a 14-29 lead. The visitors remained in control thanks to a big game from Alex Tyus, and their defense not allowing Partizan to get close. Maccabi held a 47-57 edge entering the fourth quarter, but Bogdan Bogdanovic and Joffrey Lauvergne rallied the hosts, and Bogdanovic nailed a triple with 24 seconds to go that gave Partizan the lead for good as the hosts held on in a dramatic fashion. Bogdanovic paced the winners with 18 points and 6 assists. Dejan Musli and Milenko Tepic had 13 points apiece, Sasha Pavlovic scored 10, while Joffrey Lauvergne collected 8 points plus 12 rebounds. Tyus had 14 points plus 11 rebounds, including career-high 6 on the offensive glass. Schortsanitis scored 12 before leaving the game with a leg injury in the third quarter, and David Blu netted 10 in defeat.
First quarter: Maccabi opens in a good rhythm
After Musli started things from close range, Alex Tyus scored an easy layup, Ricky Hickman nailed a baseline jumper and Yogev Ohayon sank a three-pointer to make it 2-7. Pavlovic drove to the hoop and Musli made a huge put-back dunk, but Schortsanitis scored a fastbreak layup and a basket-plus-foul for a 6-12 lead. Bogdanovic drove to the basket and Partizan made stops with its zone defense. Devin Smith hit from downtown for Maccabi, but Pavlovic hit a basket, before Davis Bertans made his first shot after a nine-month absence with a torn ACL, a long jumper to close within 12-15. As the visitors successfully used their full-court press, Schortsanitis scored 5 consecutive points, including a big-dunk-plus-free throw, and after Bogdanovic made a layup, a triple from Tyrese Rice made it 14-23.
Second quarter: Visitors take control
Maccabi pulled away even more with back-to-back triples from David Blu to lead 14-29. Musli scored for Partizan, and after Ohayon made a layup, Bogdanovic hit the first triple of the night for the hosts. Pavlovic followed him with a tough jumper to make it 21-31, before Hickman scored a layup in a crowd on the other end. Bogdanovic nailed another from long range, but Joe Ingles scored an easy breakaway basket to make it 24-35. After Pavlovic and Tyus traded baskets inside, Musli scored a put-back cutting it to 30-37. But Sylven Landesberg nailed another three-pointer for the visitors, helping them to a 31-40 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Tyus and Blu protect double-digit lead
Nikola Milutinov and Tyus traded easy dunks, before Tepic buried a three-pointer to get within 36-42. Smith raced for a fastbreak dunk, and after Lauvergne scored a put-back, Guy Pnini nailed a three-pointer to give Maccabi a 38-47 lead. Tepic nailed a corner-three for the hosts, but Maccabi’s aggressive defense did not allow Partizan to get any closer. Blu and Schortsanitis brought the margin back into the double-digits from the foul line. Musli scored from close range, but Blu answered with a jumper before Schortsanitis left the game with a leg injury after landing on Bertans’s foot. Pavlovic scored a layup for Partizan, but Tyus had a pair of put-backs, helping Maccabi to a 47-57 cushion.
Fourth quarter: Bogdanovic and Lauvergne fuel Partizan’s big rally
Spurred on by its fans, Partizan started rallying at the start of the quarter. Milutinov opened it with a basket-plus-foul, before Bogdanovic buried a three-pointer, then drove coast-to-coast for a layup that made it 55-57. The hosts held Maccabi scoreless with its 1-3-1 zone defense before Tyus fought his way for another put-back, and Smith sank a floater to give Maccabi more breathing room, 55-62. But Tepic hit from long and close range, before Lauvergne’s put-back tied it at 62-62 with less than five minutes to go. Tyus made a short jumper, but Lauvergne hit a pair of free throws and added a tip-in for a 66-65 lead. Tepic stole the ball and raced for a layup, extending the difference to 3 points, but Pnini hit a triple to tie the game 68-68 inside the final minute. Bogdanovic answered right back with a three-pointer, restoring the hosts’ lead. When Rice scored both free throws on the other end, it was 71-70. Then, Maccabi’s full-court press forced another turnover, however, Bogdanovic stole the inbound pass. After Musli split free throws with 7 second to go, Pnini’s potential game-winning triple rimmed out, and Kombank Arena erupted in celebration.
Thursday, March 20, 2014