ALBA rallies for OT win in Belgrade
ALBA Berlin rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to claim an 84-90 overtime victory over host Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Tuesday. A low-scoring first quarter was won by Zvezda and the Serbian hosts briefly led by double-digits in the second quarter before ALBA responded to keep it close, 37-34, at halftime. Zvezda used strong defense to stretch the advantage as high as 55-41 in the third quarter, but long-range shooting brought ALBA back to force overtime and then dominate the extra period. Maodo Lo paced ALBA with 21 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting, and Peyton Siva added 19 points. Johannes Thiemann scored 13 points and Luka Sikma combined 9 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Jordan Loyd paced Zvezda with 21 points, while Ognjen Dobric had 13 and Johnny O'Bryant 12. ALBA has now won three games in a row to improve to 6-7, while Zvezda, 4-10, has lost five in a row.
Siva and Louis Olinde got ALBA an early lead before Branko Lazic ignited Zvezda with a corner three. Jayson Granger responded from deep and a pair of close-range scores from Thiemann made it 5-11. Sikma's layup was bettered by a pair of powerful scores from Marko Jagodic-Kuridza, and Aleksa Uskokovic struck from deep for a 14-13 Zvezda advantage. Dejan Davidovac and Tim Schneider exchanged close-range buckets, making it 16-15 after 10 minutes. Three-pointers from Corey Walden and Dobric stretched the Zvezda lead with an 8-0 run, but ALBA enjoyed a five-point burst from Niels Giffey to make it 24-20. Two scores from Duop Reath and 5 points from Dobric made it 33-22, but ALBA fought back with a 0-7 run thanks to 5 points from Lo. O'Bryant's battling score was matched by Lo before Schneider beat the half-time buzzer from deep, making it 37-34.
Uskokovic opened the third quarter from long range and Zvezda moved further ahead with baskets by Reath and O'Bryant. After O'Bryant battled for a three-point play, Dobric drove inside at 52-41, to which Borisa Simanic added a corner three. Lo ended the 9-0 Zvezda run from long-range and Olinde added a layup in transition, before Loyd and Lo made it 57-48 after three quarters. Loyd restored the double-digit lead with a quickfire pair of triples, 64-50, but Siva and Lo struck from deep to keep ALBA hoping. O'Bryant's inside score was bettered by further three-balls from Lo and Siva, but Dobric settled Zvezda with his own triple, 69-62. Siva hit from deep once again, and Thiemann scored inside to make it 69-67. Siva penetrated inside to tie the game with 2 minutes left. Sikma's free throw briefly gave ALBA its first lead since the opening quarter, but Loyd sank 3 free throws at 74-72 with 90 seconds left. Loyd then hit a floater, but Giffey answered with a layup before Sikma drew a foul with 1.3 seconds left and made both foul shots to force overtime. The extra period opened with another score from Lo and free throws from Giffey. Loyd and Granger traded triples before Thiemann netted a long two and Sikma's layup made it 79-87. Loyd's triple gave Zvezda hope, but Thiemann dunked for 82-89 with a minute left to seal the deal.
ALBA's third-quarter woes…
After finishing the first half strongly, ALBA could not get moving after the break. The German team only scored free throws in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter as Zvezda surged into a 14-point lead which looked like it could be decisive.
…followed by fourth quarter fireworks
ALBA had initially struggled from long-range, making just 1 of its first 10 three-pointers. But Maodo Lo and Peyton Siva went on a scoring spree in the final quarter, changing the course of the game by netting 5 triples in the space of 3 minutes – two from Lo and three from Siva. That burst of scoring got ALBA right back in the game and set up the comeback.
Uskokovic steps into the limelight
Aleksa Uskokovic enjoyed the best performance of his young EuroLeague career. In his third appearance, Zvezda's 21 year-old homegrown guard was introduced in the first quarter and played 17:30 minutes, scoring his first field goals of the competition to finish with 8 points along with 3 assists and 1 steal.
Unhappy reunion for Obradovic
The narrow loss was an unhappy first EuroLeague game for Zvezda head coach Sasa Obradovic against his former club. Obradovic was in charge of ALBA for four years between 2012 and 2016, including two seasons in the EuroLeague.
Zvezda will stay at home to welcome Valencia Basket on Friday, while ALBA completes its week on the road with a trip to Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Thursday.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020