Partizan rallies past Joventut!
In a thriller that came down to the final seconds, Partizan NIS Belgrade remained undefeated in Group A by downing Joventut Badalona 68-67 in the Serbian capital on Tuesday. Partizan improved to 3-0 in the standings while dropping Joventut to 2-1. Kevin Punter led the winners with 18 points, including 3 jumpers in the final minute Partizan needed to win the game. Zach LeDay added 13 for Partizan. Joel Parra paced Joventut with 15 points, Derek Willis added 11 and Ante Tomic had 10 for the visitors. Willis and Parra gave Joventut an early 2-11 lead. LeDay, Punter and Rodions Kurucs fueled an 11-0 run which allowed Partizan to take a 19-17 edge after 10 minutes. Vladimir Brodziansky and Pau Ribas rescued the visitors and Andres Feliz hit a floater for a 34-39 Joventut margin at halftime. Parra buried a triple to give Joventut a double-digit margin, 43-54, late in the third quarter. Partizan fought back and Punter put the hosts ahead, 66-65, already in the final minute. Ribas hit a jumper, but so did Punter to win it.
Willis got Joventut going with a dunk and a three-pointer, fueling a 0-6 opening run. Parra bettered Punter's backdoor layup with a bomb from downtown and Willis dunked again, prompting Partizan to call timeout at 2-11. LeDay ignited the crowd with a dunk-and-foul and followed Kurucs's slam with a layup. Punter hit a jumper and Kurucs dunked again to put Partizan in charge, 13-11, after an 11-0 run. Simon Birgander scored down low and followed Parra's fastbreak layup with a dunk for a 15-17 Joventut lead. Punter scored again and Balsa Koprivica added a tip-in for a 19-17 Partizan lead after 10 minutes.
LeDay struck from beyond the arc early in the second quarter. Brodziansky hit a jump hook and followed Zsombor Maronka's slam with a layup for a 22-23 Joventut lead. Dallas Moore hit a triple and Alen Smailagic found his first points, but Pep Busquets scored down low and Ribas struck twice from downtown for a 27-31 Joventut edge. Ante Tomic downed his trademark jump hook and Willis added a tomahawk dunk, but Moore kept Partizan within 32-35. Parra and Feliz made it 34-39 at halftime.
Kurucs dunked again soon after the break but Tomic matched that with a jump hook. Willis briefly silenced the crowd with an alley-oop dunk. Moore struck from downtown, but Feliz banked in a close shot for a 39-45 Joventut lead. Tomic hit a jumper that Koprivica matched with a put-back layup. Moore and Busquets traded baskets and Parra buried a three-pointer that made it a double-digit game, 43-54. Punter rescued Partizan with back-to-back three-pointers only to see Brodziansky and Birgander keep the visitors in control, 49-59, after 30 minutes.
Rade Zagorac found his first points early in the fourth quarter and Smailagic added a huge dunk in traffic that gave Partizan hope at 53-59. Zagorac kept pushing the hosts, but Tomic gave Joventut fresh air at 57-61. After Parra hit free throws, LeDay matched those with a jump hook and Smailagic buried a big three-pointer for a 62-63 score with 2:18 left. Parra was ice cold from the foul line and Punter buried consecutive jumpers to complete Partizan's comeback, 66-65, with 28.7 seconds remaining. Ribas downed a jumper, but an unstoppable Punter copied him at the other end for a 68-67 lead with 4.2 seconds left and Joventut could not get a shot off on its final possession.
Punter leads Partizan again
Kevin Punter did everything he needed to do to make sure Partizan NIS Belgrade downed Joventut Badalona in come-from-behind fashion. Joventut led 62-65 in the next-to-last minute, but Punter buried a mid-range shot and soon hit another for a 66-65 lead with 28.7 seconds remaining. When Pau Ribas buried a jumper from the elbow, everyone at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall knew who would shoot the next ball, and Punter delivered, downing a highly-contested shot to fix the final score, 68-67. He finished the game with 18 points on 6-of-8 two-point shooting and a PIR of 17.
By the numbers: Partizan shoots worse, wins anyway
It is hard to find a game in which a team has worse shooting percentages from all distances and wins the game, but that is what happened to Partizan NIS Belgrade against Joventut Badalona. Partizan made 50.0% of its two-point shots, 30.4% from downtown and 57.9% from the foul line. Joventut shot better in all three categories (55.9% 2FG, 35.3% 3FG, 78.6% FT) and had 22 assists compared to Partizan's 10. Partizan grabbed more offensive rebounds, 11, allowing the guests just 5. It also had 9 steals and 14 turnovers - Joventut only had 7 steals and committed 17 turnovers.
Koprivica: like father, like son
Balsa Koprivica came off the bench to help his team, Partizan NIS Belgrade, beat Joventut Badalona in Round 3. He provided one of the highlights in Partizan's win with a buzzer-beating tip-in at the end of the first quarter. He is not the first member of his family to beat Joventut. His father, Slavisa Koprivica, beat Joventut twice in the 1991-92 EuroLeague: 76-75 in Fuenlabrada, Spain, and 71-70 in the championship game in Istanbul, Turkey, helping Partizan win its only continental crown to date. Balsa Koprivica finished the game with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 7 minutes.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021