Regular Season Round 7 - December 10, 2009 CET: 20:45 Local time: 20:45 - PIONIR

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
3-3 Regular Season 3-3
3-3 Overall 3-3

Referees

Crew Chief
HIERREZUELO, DANI, Spain
Referee
BULTO, VICENTE, Spain
Umpire
CMIKIEWICZ, MAREK, Poland

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
70.5 Points 79.8
36.8 Rebounds 32.5
11.2 O. Rebounds 10.0
25.7 D. Rebounds 22.5
14.3 Assists 16.8
5.7 Steals 6.3
3.5 Blocks 3.2
18.3 Turnovers 14.2
55.8 % 2PT 56.5 %
32.4 % 3PT 33.6 %
62.8 % FT 78.0 %
71.3 Index 87.7

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
15.5 / Maric Points 12.2 / Rakocevic
8.8 / Maric Rebounds 5.7 / Peker
3.0 / Maric OR 3.2 / Kasun
5.8 / Maric DR 4.0 / Peker
4.2 / McCalebb Assists 3.5 / Tunceri
1.8 / Maric Steals 1.2 / SMITH, CHARLES
1.7 / VRANES, SLAVKO Blocks 0.8 / Kasun
2.7 / Maric Turnovers 1.8 / Nachbar
75.0 % / Milosevic 2PT 81.3 % / SANTIAGO, DANIEL
60.0 % / Vesely 3PT 50.0 % / SHUMPERT, PRESTON
83.3 % / McCalebb FT 100.0 % / SMITH, CHARLES
22.3 / Maric Index 12.3 / Thornton

THE TAKE

Two teams coming off big wins clash in the Serbian capital when Partizan Belgrade hosts Efes Pilsen on Thursday night at Pionir Arena. Partizan handed Group B leader Unicaja its first loss last week to improve to 3-3. Efes bested Lietuvos Rytas and also improved to 3-3. The two teams are tied with L. Rytas for third place in the group, but one of the trio could be on the outside looking in when it comes to Top 16 spots, making every game between them crucial. The focal point of this game could be at center, where each team has celebrated players. Partizan’s Aleks Maric is in the midst of an outstanding Euroleague debut campaign and ranks second in the competition in index ranking thanks to his outstanding performances in the paint. But this week he will tango with Efes’s deep frontline, which can throw out a number of different looks from the explosive Mario Kasun, the powerful Kaya Peker, the technically sound Ermal Kuqo or the hero of last week’s win, veteran Daniel Santiago. How Maric and his backup, Slavko Vranes, respond to Efes’s depth will surely have an impact on the outcome. The hosts’ other sparkplug this year has been point guard Bo McCalebb, a first-time Euroleaguer who should be somewhat familiar with Efes after playing in Turkey for Mersin Belediyesi last season. The duo of Kerem Tunceri and Edner Arslan will be charged with limiting his damage. Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner Igor Rakocevic, who grew up at Partizan’s main local rival, Crvena Zvezda, leads a dangerous perimeter attack that also features Bootsy Thornton, Charles Smith and Preston Shumpert. Dusan Kecman and Aleksandar Rasic, who both have played for Efes in the past, and Jan Vesely will be among those asked to stop the visitors from heating up. Lawrence Roberts and teenager Branislav Dekic round out the hosts’ lineup and will be stuck guarding Bostjan Nachbar, who though inconsistent thus far, has the ability to break out at any moment. Smith, Rakocevic and Shumpert combined for 49 points as Efes Pilsen beat Partizan 77-70 in October. Partizan’s ability to contain them this time could be the key factor in the game. And if the Serbian champs are winning down the stretch, keep an eye on the margin of victory, since a win by 8 points or more could have major tiebreak implications in the future.

REFEREES: Daniel Hierrezuelo, Vicente Bulto, Marek Cmikiewicz


GAME NOTES

Partizan Belgrade

Dusan Kecman played for Efes Pilsen during the 2004-05 season. He took part in 15 Euroleague games, helping the club climb within one win of a Final Four berth. He was teammate of current Efes players Kaya Peker, Ermal Kuqo and Ender Arslan.

Guard Aleksandar Rasic finished the 2006-07 season at Efes Pilsen, playing five games in the Turkish League. Rasic scored 18 points against Efes in an 83-77 victory last season.

Dusan Kecman scored a season-high 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season last week against Unicaja.

Slavko Vranes has blocked at least 1 shot in all six games this season.

Bo McCalebb has scored in double figures in all six games this season.

Partizan has committed more fouls this season than any other team in the league (152).

Jan Vesely did not foul out of the game for the first time this season last week against Unicaja.

Efes Pilsen

Shooting guard Sinan Guler made his Euroleague debut in the first game of the season last year against Partizan. Efes won the game 61-60.

Guard Bootsy Thornton swiped a career-best 8 steals for Montepaschi Siena against Partizan in a February 2008 game. Montepaschi won the game 71-54.

Kaya Peker needs just 1 more blocked shot to reach 20th place on the Euroelague’s career shot-blocking charts. He has blocked 71 shots in 137 games over his career.

Charles Smith has made 15 consecutive free throws over his past nine Euroleague appearances.

Smith scored a season-high 18 points in a Week 2 win over Partizan.

Daniel Santiago scored a season-high 17 points in just 13-and-a-half minutes last week against Lietuvos Rytas.

Igor Rakocevic scored a season-high 16 points last week against Lietuvos Rytas.

Preston Shumpert scored a season-high 17 points in a Week 2 win over Partizan.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

VUJOSEVIC, DUSKO
Partizan
"Each Euroleague game is important but the game with Efes is especially important to us. Our record so far is better than we expected but we have to have our feet on the ground. Efes is favourite because that is the team full of talented players. Efes is the team with deepest bench and Efes' coach managed to fit stars like Igor Rakocevic and Preston Schumpert into the team. Last weeks they improved their play and atmosphere. They are stronger than we are and we have to go over the limit if we wanted to beat them. Partizan shall play with heart wishing to win but that could be loaded factor. I hope it would not happen and I also hope we can win the game."
ATAMAN, ERGIN
Efes Pilsen
"This is going to be the second leg of the tough games series. We took a step ahead by beating Lietuvos Rytas last week, but we have not completed our mission yet. Partizan is also in contention of having a better position in the group like we do. They will have the home-court advantage, but we have the morale motivation on our side as the main difference when compared with the first game we played in Istanbul. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a really hard game there in Pionir Arena."

Players

MARIC, ALEKS
Partizan
"We have the same Euroleague record as Efes at the moment and I expect a real hard game because both teams wants to reach the Top 16. Efes has more experienced players but they all know well we are playing in front of our devoted fans. We have to be aggressive and clever and be careful with personal fouls. Efes have so many big players in its roster that we are happy basketball is a 5 on 5 game. I believe we are able to beat them."
PEKER, KAYA
Efes Pilsen
"It was a very tough game against Partizan that we played in Istanbul. They are one of the traditional clubs of Europe, which has contributed for the development of basketball in Europe. They play much better at home and we have to be ready for 40 minutes of fight. We have to play our own game instead of letting them play their game. We have to dictate the tempo and be able to remain resistance at the same time all during the game."
Aleks Maric - PartizanIn a battle for survival in the heart of Group B, another sellout crowd in Belgrade got to see basketball at its finest as Partizan edged Efes Pilsen 93-92 thanks to a monster night by Aleksandr Maric and a game-winning jumper by Dusan Kecman in the waning seconds. Partizan improved to 4-3 and now sits tied for third place with Lietuvos Rytas, while Efes dropped to fifth place at 3-4 with three regular season games remaining. Maric continued his relevatory season with a performance that ranked among the 10 best in the Euroleague this decade. The 25-year-old rookie center from Australia was unstoppable all night, finishing with 34 points on 13-of-16 two-point shooting while ripping down 16 rebounds, including 8 on offense to finish with a performance index rating of 49. Bo McCalebb was also huge for Partizan, fearlessly attacking the rim time and again to draw defenders and dish to the waiting Maric. The point guard, also a Euroleague rookie, finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Kecman's game-winning jumper from the foul line with 2.8 seconds left gave him 12 points to go with 6 assists. For Efes, which led by 88-85 late in the game, gor Rakocevic scored 24 points while Charles Smith seconded him with 18 points, including 5 three-pointers. Kaya Peker and Bostjan Nachbar added 17 and 14 points, respectively, in the losing effort. The game went back-and-forth all night with both teams going at one another with their best weapons and neither team able to open a lead greater than 6 points the entire night. While Efes dominated from the exterior with the marksmanship of Rakocevic and Smith, Partizan was simply unstoppable in the low blocks, blowing Efes away on the boards 40-19, including 20 on the offensive glass.

With the home crowd already roaring, Peker was not intimidated and drew first blood for Efes with a soft hook shot. Bootsy Thornton then found Peker for another inside bucket. Partizan struggled until McCalebb sliced for a layup and hit the free throw that came with it. Maric finally stopped Peker with a nice block, and Petar Bozic nailed a jumper to give Partizan its first lead, 5-4. Kecman and Lawrence Roberts came in to steady Partizan with their veteran experience after Jan Vesely picked up his second foul. Kasun muscled in for a layup-plus-free throw, but Roberts did not wait to make an impact, hitting a three-pointer from the wing. Nor did Kecman, who put back a miss to give Partizan a 10-7 lead. Rakocevic entered to give Efes instant offense. Maric tipped in another miss, but Smith answered immediately with a three-point bomb. McCalebb gave way to Aleksandr Rasic, who dished to Maric for a game-tying layup at 11-11. Smith then swished another triple, drew the foul and hit the free throw for a four-point play. McCalebb returned to score on a scooping layup, and though Daniel Santiago made free throws and Rakocevic a jump shot for Efes, Rasic finished the quarter with a three-pointer to keep Partizan in front, 19-20.

Nachbar opened the second quarter with a layup for Efes and Kecman hit back with two-pointer. Smith kept it coming by dropping another three. Maric got to the line for 2 points, but Rakocevic found Nachbar for the layup. Branislav Dekic nailed a three from the corner. Rakocevic connected again with a jumper, but Rasic hit another triple. Rakocevic stayed aggressive and drove for another layup as neither team could miss during an electric give-and-take between offenses. After Rasic got a tough short to go down, the score was knotted at 31-31. Rakocevic accepting the challenge and hit a baseline jumper. Maric then threw down a two-handed dunk off an in-bounds alley-oop from Vesely. Peker then hit right back from downtown for a three-point advantage. Ender Arslan, just off the bench for his first action, pushed the ball off a turnover and found Nachbar for a three. Vesely then used the glass to bank in a triple of his own. Smith, completely unconscious, drilled his fourth three-pointer to give Efes a 6-point lead. Slvako Vranes worked in for a basket close, and McCalebb used some excellent ball fakes to eventually find Maric for the slam. Arslan used his speed to get to the glass for 2 points, but Maric continued to dominate under the glass for powered in for a layup. Facing a zone from Partizan out of a timeout, Kasun came off the baseline and received the pass from Nachbar in the high post for the slam. McCalebb drove and dished to his favorite target, Maric, who earned a trip to the line where he made both. Efes went into halftime up 46-48.

Igor Rakocevic - Efes PilsenSmith got Efes going in the third period with a drive a dish to Santiago for the slam before Bozic nailed a three-pointer. Nachbar got a jump shot to roll in, but Partizan kept pulling in the offensive boards. A tip-in by Maric was the third in one single possession for the home team. McCalebb gave Partizan the 53-52 advantage with 2 free throws, but Nachbar made a difficult double-clutch layup to grab the lead right back and Rakocevic made another tough floating jumper from the baseline. Maric hit a mid-range jumper. Rakocevic then drew a foul on Dekic on a three-pointer and got Efes second four-point play to go ahead 55-60. McCalebb, not wanting Efes to get any momentum, skied in for a layup and then got to the line for 2 more points. Peker hit inside, but the McCalebb-Maric connection worked yet again for a dunk by the big man. Kecman fed Maric who once again rattled the rim, and McCalebb tied it at 64-64 with a free throw. Vesely then gave the home side the lead by dunked in a miss by McCalebb. Arslan grabbed a loose ball, drove the baseline and flipped in a layup while drawing the foul for a three-point play. Maric evened the score at 67-67 going 1-of-2 from the foul line. Roberts kept a play alive and then fed Maric for a layup. Smith hit a high, arcing floater, and Arslan weaved his way to the bucket for 2 more points to put Efes ahead 71-72 after three quarters.

A Santiago free throw opened the final quarter. Another Partizan offensive rebound led to McCalebb cashing in with a three-pointer. Smith quickly answered from even deeper over the outstretched arms of Vesely, but Kecman found Roberts cutting for the slam at 77-76. Maric added foul shots even while Roberts fouled out for Partizan with 6:15 to play. Efes struggled to score, so Partizan went up by 5 when Maric slammed home a miss. Nachbar and Peker tied the game 81-81 on 5 straight free throws. Vesely made a nice pass to Maric, who struck again with a layup, but then Rakocevic downed 4 more foul shots to give Efes an 83-85 lead with under 3 minutes left. Kecman answered from the line to tie, before he and Rakocevic exchanged huge three-pointers as the show hurtled towards a great climax. With under a minute to go, Arslan penetrated and dished to Peker along the baseline for the layup to put Efes up 88-90. Maric, never bigger, was there to put back a miss by McCalebb, who fouled out with 16 seconds to play sending Peker to the line. The Efes center made 1 of 2, as did Maric when fouled quickly and sent to the line. It was then Thornton's turn to shoot for free. He too made 1 of 2, with his first point all night putting Efes ahead 91-92 with 8 seconds left. After a timeout, Kecman ran a pick-and-roll with Maric to stop high in the lane for an open jumper. It fell with 2.8 seconds left, putting the Pionir Arena crowd in hysterics, and leaving not enough time for Rakocevic to get off a clean shot. A classic was over with Partizan and its fans celebrating a move into Top 16 position in Group B.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Euroleague.net
Referees: HIERREZUELO, DANI (ESP), BULTO, VICENTE (ESP), CMIKIEWICZ, MAREK (POL)
Attendance: 7022
By Quarter1234
Partizan19272522
Efes Pilsen20282420
End of Quarter1234
Partizan19467193
Efes Pilsen20487292
Head coach: VUJOSEVIC, DUSKO
Partizan
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 ROBERTS, LAWRENCE 20:20 6 1/3 1/2 1/2 4 5 9 3 1 3     5 2 9
5 SINOVEC, STEFAN 0:31                              
6 McCALEBB, BO 32:11 17 3/10 1/3 8/11 3 3 6 4 1 5   1 5 6 11
7 KECMAN, DUSAN 28:19 12 3/3 1/3 3/4 1 2 3 6   1 1   2 4 20
8 MILOSEVIC, STRAHINJA 4:02                         2   -2
10 RASIC, ALEKSANDAR 22:08 8 1/3 2/3         2   1     1   5
19 MITROVIC, ALEKSANDAR 0:07                              
20 BOZIC, PETAR 15:45 5 1/2 1/3         2   1     5 1 -1
21 MARIC, ALEKS 30:56 34 13/16   8/14 8 8 16 1 1 1 1   4 10 49
24 VESELY, JAN 21:09 6 1/2 1/2 1/2 1   1 2         3 2 5
31 DJEKIC, BRANISLAV 15:35 3 0/1 1/3     2 2 1 1 1     4 1  
33 VRANES, SLAVKO 8:57 2 1/2                     1    
Team           3   3               3
Totals 200:00 93 24/42 8/19 21/33 20 20 40 21 4 13 2 1 32 26 99
57.1% 42.1% 63.6%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: ATAMAN, ERGIN
Efes Pilsen
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 KASUN, MARIO 8:37 5 2/2   1/1   1 1           1 1 6
7 SMITH, CHARLES 33:56 18 1/1 5/8 1/1   1 1 2 1 1   1 5 1 13
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 31:48 24 5/8 2/4 8/9   1 1 3 1 2   1 3 10 27
9 SHUMPERT, PRESTON 3:43                              
10 TUNCERI, KEREM 20:01   0/1       1 1 3   1     1   1
11 THORNTON, BOOTSY 12:03 1   0/2 1/2   1 1 1 1       3 3 1
14 PEKER, KAYA 23:14 17 4/7 1/1 6/8 1 3 4 2 3 2     4 5 20
21 NACHBAR, BOSTJAN 30:09 14 4/5 1/4 3/4   2 2 1 1 1 1   3 6 16
23 KUQO, ERMAL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
25 SANTIAGO, DANIEL 16:30 6 1/2   4/6 1 1 2           3 5 7
32 GULER, SINAN 0:10                         1   -1
33 ARSLAN, ENDER 19:49 7 3/3 0/3 1/1 1 1 2 1 1 1     2 1 6
Team           1 3 4               4
Totals 200:00 92 20/29 9/22 25/32 4 15 19 13 8 8 1 2 26 32 100
69% 40.9% 78.1%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

VUJOSEVIC, DUSKO
Partizan
“It was a very, very tough game that we won thanks to the great heart of my players. The importance of the game influenced our play, above all in the first half when we did not defend Smith very well and the other Efes shooter. Rakocevic hurt us a lot, but we were lucky enough that Dusan Kecman, the true hero of the game, hit the last shot. We keep out options alive of advancing to the Top 16, but it will not be easy since the group is very strong and even.”
ATAMAN, ERGIN
Efes Pilsen
“We played well, with very with turnovers, and this game was probably the best we have played all season as far as our offense goes. But, Partizan dominated the rebounds and this is the main cause of the loss. The Partizan players missed a lot of free throws, but after almost every miss they would get the rebound and have another offensive possession. The group is very even now, with up to five teams with possibilities to advance to the Top 16.”

Players

MARIC, ALEKS
Partizan
“It is always sweet to win by one point, but these are the kind of games that shorten your life. I want to congratulate my teammates, who withstood the tremendous pressure of the game that went back and forth for the full forty minutes. This Efes team is much better than the one we faced in Istanbul. They play much more together, have some great outside shooting and various players who can score 30 points. This time it was my turn to get those numbers, but we are a team. Next time it will be one of my teammates' turn. Besides, my numbers would not mean anything if it weren’t for the last shot of Kecman.”
RAKOCEVIC, IGOR
Efes Pilsen
“First of all, I want to congratulate Partizan. It deserved to win a spectacular game. We also could have won, but we made some mistakes of the kind which are not forgiven in these types of games. Both teams played with a lot of energy, with constant lead changes. We had problems in our front court, our small forward had to play down low, and Partizan knew how to take advantage of that and dominated the rebounds. We still have good options to advance to the Top 16 because we have a friendly calendar with two games at home.”
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