Partizan mt:s which beat Caja Laboral 74-71
The magic of Hala Pionir in Belgrade returned on Wednesday as host Partizan Belgrade rallied from 8 points behind with 5 minutes left to defeat mighty Caja Laboral 74-71 and move ahead of the visitors in the Group A. Partizan is now 3-2 and could be tied for first place before the week ends, while Laboral fell to 2-3. It looked like the opposite would happen as Partizan went more than 6 minutes without a basket and trailed 58-69 with under 5 to play. Then Kecman hit a triple to begin his 8 unanswered points in a row to spark a rally to the finish for the victory. James Gist hit late insurance free throws to finish with 14 points, 11 rebounds for Partizan. Nathan Jawai added 13 points, Kecman 12 - or which 10 came in the last 5 minutes - and Jan Vesely 10. Caja Laboral was led with 17 points by Stanko Barac, but the game changed when he fouled out midway through the final quarter. Fernando San Emeterio and David Logan added 14 points each and Mirza Teletovic 11. Partizan's 42-28 edge in rebounds, including a 17-4 advantage on offensive boards, was most telling in the outcome. The loss marked the first time in six years that Caja Laboral, previously Tau Ceramica, has lost three consecutive games in the same Euroleague season.
A triple by Branislav Djekic got Partizan going and the fans out of their seats in Belgrade, but Laboral responded with the next 6 points on baskets by Barac, Teletovic and San Emeterio. Kecman put back a rebound for the hosts, but when Nemanja Bjelica stepped back for a baseline swish and the duo of Barac and San Emeterio kept scoring, the visitors were ahead 9-16. The good news for Partizan was that Vesely reappeared with a layup, then Ratko Katic hustled for 4 points before Jawai backed down for a basket to close the gap to 15-20 in what was a fast scoring pace. Barac answered with a three-pointer that gave him 11 points in the first quarter and Teletovic added a basket to keep Laboral in control, 18-25 after 10 minutes.
San Emeterio opened the second quarter by adding to the Laboral lead, but when Oliver Lafayette hit a lean-in basket, Katic rebounded the free throw, and Vesely flew in for an alley-oop dunk, the momentum started to change. Lafayette came back with another layup at 24-27, forcing a Laboral timeout to get Logan back. He traded baskets with Lafayette. San Emeterio was perfect at the line, while Jawai put back a miss. Then Pau Ribas made a jumper that Petar Bozic bettered with an open triple from the corner to make it 31-33. On Partizan's second try to take the lead, Gist let it go from the top of the circle for a go-ahead triple at 34-33. Laboral didn't flinch, however, as Barac blocked Jawai's fastbreak attempt, which led to Logan burying a triple in transition at 34-36. Out of a timeout, Gist blasted to the basket to tie it up. Next, Ribas stole and dunked, but Jawai went past Barac, who was trying to avoid a third foul, to tie again. Gist then got that foul on Barac, so Jawai and Katic went to work inside on young Dejan Musli, drawing 2 fouls on him, too, while scoring 2 points each to finish the half with Partizan ahead on the scoreboard, 42-38.
Vesely continued Partizan's energy boost with a dunk to open the second quarter. However, a three-pointer by Logan and a putback by Teletovic on a touch-pass by Marcelinho Huertas got the visitors close at 44-43. Gist gave the hosts a respite with a layup, but soon Huertas and Martin Rancik were hitting layups, the first points all night for each, to take back a lead for Laboral at 46-48. Vesely tied it at the line, but Huertas kept the visitors going forward with an assist to Teletovic. Vesely tied it again, 50-50, on a put-back of a busted alley-oop. Logan hit a pull-up jumper before a lull that ended with Gist drawing Rancik's fourth foul and making 1 of 2 free throws. Teletovic powered in a basket that Katic answered. Soon, great ball movement got Bozic open for a go-ahead triple at 56-55. A free throw by Huertas tied it up 56-56, and that's where they stood after 30 minutes.
Logan's triple opened the final quarter strong for Laboral, then he found Barac for a slam to make it 56-61, forcing a Partizan timeout. A tense and scoreless couple minutes followed before Huertas upped the difference at the foul line to 56-63. Points were coming hard for Laboral, but not at all for Partizan, which had not scored in 6 minutes. After a timeout, Huertas made it look easy, passing behind his back for a layup by Barac, who soon added a free throw for a double-digit lead, 56-67. Lafayette took 2 free throws off the difference, and then, just as importantly, drew an offensive foul on Barac, his fifth, ending his night at 17 points. So when Rancik replaced him, Huertas went behind his back again, this time with the other hand and on a bounce, for another layup at 58-69. Partizan needed inspiration, and got it with a triple from Kecman. Next he downed a layup as Laboral went cold, including 2 missed free throws by Logan. Kecman knew how to take advantage, driving for a basket plus free throw that cut the difference to 66-69 with 2:30 to play. Now it was Laboral that couldn't make a shot. After a timeout, Gist fed Jawai inside to make it a one-point game, 68-69, now with under 2 minutes left. Offensive rebounds gave Laboral the ball into the final munite, but the visitors got no points from it. Partizan did, as Gist's layup rolled out but he went to the foul line with 37.9 seconds left, making 2 of 2 for a 70-69 lead. San Emeterio got called for walking with 21.1 seconds left, forcing Laboral to foul. Kecman missed both his free throw attempts, but got his own rebound and went back to the line with 12.4 seconds left, this time making both for a 72-69 advantage. The free throw parade continued with San Emeterio making a pair and Gist, fouled with 3.8 seconds left, matching them. Bjelica had an open three-pointer to tie on the buzzer, but missed, giving Partizan a big comeback victory to move ahead of Caja Laboral in Group A.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010