| Partizan fought back from down 9 points in the third quarter to beat Olympiacos 86-80 and put itself in the race for the Top 16 with its improved 2-3 record. As always, Partizan’s legions of loyal fans never gave up faith in their team and cheered them on non-stop for the full 40 minutes. Their heroes reciprocated with individuals stepping up to make the difference at each critical juncture of the contest. In the opening period, it was Aleksandar Rasic who scored 10 points to tie the game, then Bo McCalebb led the charge in the second half igniting a 12-0 run to take the lead. And in the final stanza, after McCalebb fouled out with 3:11 to play, it was Aleks Maric’s turn as the center scored 7 straight points to ensure the win. Rasic led the way with 25 points and 5 assists while Maric had a monster game of 23 points, 15 rebounds and 5 steals. Bo McCalebb added 19 points for the winners. The Serbian champs head off the face undefeated group B leader Unicaja in Spain next week. Josh Childress scored 18 and grabbed 7 boards for the visitors. Linas Kleiza added 18 points on 14-of-16 free throw shooting. Yotam Halperin and Milos Teodosic chipped in 15 and 12, respectively, as Olympiacos fell to 3-2. The Reds, still tied for second place with Lietuvos Rytas, visit winless Entente Orleanaise next.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis drew first blood for Olympiacos with a score inside. Milos Teodosic then followed up with a layup before Dusan Kecman opened the scoring for the home side. Both defenses then tightened up and points came at a premium - Linas Kleiza got 2 from the line after driving hard to the glass where he was fouled by Kecman. Teodosic pushed the ball up for a layup off a miss by McCalebb, and Childress pulled in his own missed layup and put it back for the 2-11 Olympiacos lead. Petar Bozic finally got a jumper to fall for Partizan. Kleiza bracketed a triple by Lawrence Roberts with a jumper and layup, 7-15. Rasic shook free for a three-pointer from the wing. Maric scored inside and Rasic converted a steal into a breakaway layup, 14-17. Teodosic countered by finding a high-flying Childress for an alley-oop slam. Rasic tossed in a pair of free throws and the next trip down nailed a three to tie the game at 19-19 after 10 minutes.
Partizan took the lead on a power move in the post by Maric, but Patrick Beverley answered second later with a huge dunk and then found Ioannis Bourousis on the next play for a one-handed slam. Kecman got out for a layup on the break after an empty trip by Olympiacos, but Bourousis hit again with a short jumper in the lane. McCalebb snuck in for a layup to tie the game at 25-25. After a dry spell for both teams, McCalebb put back an offensive board after multiple tries by his team. Halperin notched 4 quick points on a short two-pointer and a pair of free throws, but McCalebb tied it again with a layup. Childress drained a three from the wing and on the very next possession drove in for a layup to give the visitors a 5-point lead. Maric made 2 foul shots, but Nikola Vujcic made a beautiful pass to a cutting Teodosic off a give-and-go for an easy layup. McCalebb stepped up and hit a big three to cut the deficit to 34-36. Kleiza made a pair of free throws. Partizan again looked to Maric who used his bulk to gain position and throw down a nice pass from McCalebb to force Olympiacos to call for time, 36-38. Halperin responded by drilling a three from the corner, but McCalebb once again was too quick to stop as he sliced in for 2 more. Olympiacos went into the break up 38-43 as Childress tipped in a shot at the buzzer.
Kleiza opened the third quarter with a pair of free throws. Bourousis then dished the ball to a curling Teodosic for a layup to put Olympiacos ahead 38-47. McCalebb struck back with a three-pointer to spark a 9-0 run. Maric put back a McCalebb miss, and then back-to-back steals led to layups by the diminutive Partizan point guard and his teammate Rasic to tie the game at 47-47. Olympiacos remained stalled after a timeout, and McCalebb somehow weaved his way into the lane and got a layup to fall to take the lead for the home side. Maric showed some surprising quickness for a big man grabbing a steal at half court and getting the line where he made 1. Childress hit 4 straight foul shots to tie the game at 51-51. Vujcic used a great head fake to drive in for a layup and the lead. Teodosic added 2 more from the foul line. Partizan clawed back and pulled even at 55-55 on 2 foul shots by Roberts. Childress had a pair of crushing blocks to erase sure layups for Partizan, and Vujcic drove in and scored with his left off the glass. Maric made 2 foul shots and the home team reclaimed the lead on a drive by Rasic, but Teodosic responded with 2 from the line and Kleiza got 2 more free throws to roll in. McCalebb made 1 of 2 free throws to send Partizan into the final period down 60-61.
McCalebb fed Jan Vesely for a slam to start the fourth quarter. Kleiza got to the line yet again and made both. Rasic then followed McCalebb's example finding Vesely for a monster slam plus a foul on Bourousis, which the forward converted. Bourousis hit back with a three from the top of the key as the lead swung back to Olympiacos, 65-66. Rasic used a screen to get free for a three-pointer. Halperin and Vujcic then combined again on an awesome give-and-go for a layup by the guard to tie it at 68-68. Maric tipped in a miss by Roberts and moments later Partizan grabbed a 73-68 lead after Rasic drilled a deep three with a defender in his face. With 3:11 to play, McCalebb fouled out and Halperin made 2 foul shots. Maric again threw down a miss by Roberts to protect the lead. Maric then hit a huge jumper from the baseline. Teodosic quickly answered, but Maric, unstoppable, scored again inside off a pass from Rasic and drew a foul. He made the free throw for an 80-72 lead. Halperin cut the difference to just 4 points on a layup, but with 14 seconds left, Rasic made 1-of-2 from the line and the stadium knew the victory was theirs.
Thursday, November 26, 2009