It was seen from the beginning this Tuesday at the Wizink Center in Madrid. Partizan’s bet came from beyond the three-point line. This Tuesday the Belgrade team scored 13 three-pointers with 50% accuracy. The last of them with the signature of Kevin Punter (26 points and 6 assists) in the last second of the match. Hezonja tried desperately in a later action of the game with only four tenths on the scoreboard, but it failed and the team belgrade took the victory (87-89) in the first match of the playoff of the Euroleague.
Madrid was left with a 31.8% success rate in shots from three. His proposal consisted mainly of looking to score near the basket over and over again, even when Tavares, who went to the locker room limping before the break, was no longer on the field. And in that battle from near and far, between the inside game and the outside game, the one proposed by the players that Obradovic coaches won, dealing a hard blow to Chus Mateo’s players, who they lose the court factor in the series. And it should not be forgotten that the Partizan stadium is a real hell for the teams that play there as visitors.
The game already started with a masterful movement from the Serbian coach. on the pitch, black and white pieces, like in chess. The similarities were not just chromatic. The Serbian always determines what happens on the board and forces his opponents to make variations on what was initially planned. Thus, the Partizán coach left the Frenchman on the bench from the start Lessort, top rebounder in the regular phase of the Euroleague, and placed Smailagic on court, a pawn dressed in a tower who scored three triples without a miss in the first moments of the game, against a Tavares who did not arrive on time with his defense beyond 6.75. All an omen of what would end up determining the result of the crash.
On the Madrid side, only Deck (24 points +8 rebounds) seemed to have started the match at the ambient temperature that marked the stands and that required the maneuver of the Serbian technician. After Avramovic’s three-pointer, Partizan led 10-17 with 5:33 remaining in the first quarter. From that moment on, the whites, supported by the Argentine and Tavares, always close to the basket, changed the course of the game. Smailagic committed his second foul, and the entry of Yabusele certified the awakening of the whiteswho managed to finish that first quarter even on points with those from Belgrade (22-22).
The second quarter drew on the field a war without quarter. Madrid raised their speech from inside the area, trying to take advantage of the inches of Tavares and the power of Yabusele or Deck playing with their backs to the hoop. Chus Mateo’s team placed 30-22 after an 8-0 run. Meanwhile, opposite, the proposal of Obradovic’s players consisted of moving the ball until they found a sniper from the perimeter. And there was Punter, who he made three practically consecutive triples, to which another one by Dante had to be added. Musa’s scoring absence and Partizán’s perimeter line made the difference with which they reached the break (44-48). Many points, the foreseeable between two of the teams with the best attack in the European tournament.
He beginning of the third quarter showed a continuity in the arguments, but it would soon be seen that it was going to be the one with inaccuracies. Both teams made them. At times it seemed that the Partizan seemed to run out of gunpowder from the perimeter. Two free throws by Deck left the score at 64-63 at the end of the quarter and invited the game to be resolved in the last ten minutes of play.
In those decisive minutes, the defenses tightened more and more. Musa was looking to recover his usual scoring prominence, but with little luck. Lessort (11 points) claimed attention and the ball, neglecting his main facet as a rebounder. But what he kept the Serbs alive was his outside game. Punter converted a four-point play (80-81) two minutes from the end (triple plus foul), showing the fateful night of William Goss in the white direction. Madrid continues dragging this deficit at the decisive moment of the campaign. After a 2+1 from Deck with 21 seconds left in the game, Madrid was up 87-86. The Serbs had 21 seconds. And there, Punter played it with Yabusele trying to stop him unsuccessfully. It was an abysmal basket at the end of the game that Obradovic had raised. Checkmate.