Nobody but Josh Perkins knows what kind of game he expected to have on his debut night with Partizan NIS Belgrade. But it is not likely that he could have imagined what he experienced against Dolomiti Energia Trento to open the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 on Wednesday night.
Perkins not only experiences a resounding 71-43 Partizan victory, but also became a key factor for his team by putting up a remarkable stat line of 11 points, 5 boards and 6 assists in just 18 minutes, becoming his team's second-best performer only behind William Mosley.
"It was a great first game for Josh [Perkins]… To me, he is a great player, actually, a great point guard," Mosley said after the game, probably remembering how he became the destination of a spectacular assist for an alley-oop dunk on Perkins's first time with the ball.
The point guard stepped on the court with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter and needed less than 15 seconds to toss the ball to Mosley for a highlight throwdown, which was a preview of what to expect. Perkins had a great connection with his teammates despite being the last one to join the team.
He added 2 more assists to Rade Zagorac to help Partizan lead 24-16 at the end of the first quarter and connected again with Mosley for a couple of alley-oop highlight dunks that set a 20-point lead midway through the third.
"We tried to do our best. On defense we suffered against the pick-and-roll they played with Perkins and Mosley," Trento head coach Nicola Brienza said in explaining the struggle his team endured all game long.
The Italian coach was not the only one who praised Perkins's impact on the game. Partizan head coach Saso Filipovski also recognized how important his arrival has been for his team: "Of course, the addition of Josh [Perkins] was helpful for us in the creation and with the passing. I know this team missed a pick-and-roll player who can score and especially pass. You can be either a point guard or a scorer, but he is both, so he is a great help."
The balance Perkins seems to have provided to the Partizan attack was perfectly complemented by an astonishing team defensive performance, which limited Trento’s offense to only 4 points in the second quarter and to just 10 in the third. The result was the lowest scoring mark ever in the competition for the visitors.
That made Filipovski happy.
"Today it was the defense we wanted, to run, and to share the ball," Filipovski said. Mosley added: "It feels pretty good. We needed a game like this to come up early, make a statement for the Top 16."
Having won five of its six EuroCup games since new Coach Filipovski took over, Partizan looks now much more confident.
"I'm really happy for the guys, they are working hard in practices," Filipvoski emphasized. "We are searching for our constant shape. We lost some difficult games in the ABA League and we are working very hard to improve, to show our value. I hope they, my players, will see now they have potential, they have strength."
And it appears that potential and strength is that much greater with Josh Perkins on board.