Partizan beats Zalgiris in home finale
Partizan NIS Belgrade led from start to finish in downing Zalgiris Kaunas 77-67 at Kombank Arena in the Serbian capital on Friday night. Partizan improved to 4-9 in Group F, while Zalgiris dropped to 1-12. The Serbian champs used a perfect start to the game, scoring on their first eight trips down the floor to open an 18-2 lead and never looked back. Zalgiris cut the deficit to 41-36 right after halftime, but Partizan was always in control, quickly pulling away to a double-digit margin again and cruising to victory. Davis Bertans paced the winners with 17 points plus 10 rebounds. Milenko Tepic netted 14 points, Joffrey Lauvergne scored 11, and Nikola Milutinov chipped in with 10 points for Partizan. Meanwhile, Arturas Gudaitis had 13 points and 7 rebounds for Zalgiris, which was without its big man Robertas Javtokas. Martynas Pocius and Paulius Jankunas each scored 11 points, while Tadas Klimavicius had 8 points, 8 rebounds, including a career-best 6 on the offensive glass, and dished a career-high 8 assists, too.
First quarter: Partizan storms out of the gate
Partizan took control from the get-go, hitting 9 of its first 10 shots. Lauvergne got things going with a layup, and he added another one to the tally, while Bogdan Bogdanovic and Tepic continued the run with jumpers. Dejan Musli's layup-plus-foul made it 13-0, before Klimavicius scored from close range to open the visitors' account. But Bertans nailed a three-pointer, and Musli made a dunk to extend the lead, and after Jankunas scored a layup, Bertans buried another three for 21-4. Jankunas scored a basket-plus-foul on the other end, and Gudaitis had a dunk for Zalgiris. After Mihailo Andric sank another shot from downtown for the hosts, close range baskets from Sarunas Jasikevicius and Gudaitis cut it to 24-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Gudaitis leads Zalgiris back into the game
Arturas Milaknis hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit even more on the opening possession of the second quarter, bur Sasha Pavlovic scored a put-back, then launched Lauvergne for a fastbreak dunk, before Nikola Milutinov scored from close range and a 30-16 lead. Gudaitis and Djordje Gagic traded layups, as the pace of the game slowed down with the hosts holding a big 34-18 lead. However, Jankunas scored a put-back, and Dentmon a layup as the visitors started finding their rhythm. A layup from Bertans, the lone Partizan field goal in more than six minutes, made it 37-24. But Klimavicius made a pair of free throws and a short jumper, before Gudaitis cut the deficit to 7 with a layup-plus-free throw. Gagic scored a put-back, and Bertans finished a fastbreak with a powerful dunk to put the hosts back in front by double digits, but Dentmon's three-pointer ended the half at 41-34.
Third quarter: Partizan regains control and a double-digit lead
Milaknis scored a layup to open the third quarter, but Partizan’s zone defense soon started paying dividends. Pavlovic and Tepic each scored on a fastbreak for a 47-37 lead. The visitors failed to score a field goal for more than six minutes, while Milutinov used a bounce pass from Tepic for another dunk and Pavlovic drove through the crowd to make it 51-38. However, a technical on Pavlovic allowed Zalgiris to score 5 points in one trip down the floor, with Jankunas ending the visitors’ field goal drought to get to 51-44. A fastbreak layup from Tepic and a driving layup from Bertans restored a double-digit advantage. Mindaugas Kupsas scored a basket-plus-foul, but Gagic sank a mid-range jumper as the hosts took 59-49 lead into the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter: Hosts close out comfortable victory
Lauvergne and Gudaitis traded baskets from close range, but Tepic buried a three-pointer to make it 64-51. After a Jankunas layup, Tepic hit a jumper-plus-foul and Lauvergne nailed a long two-pointer for a 69-53 cushion. Jasikevicius hit a triple, but Bertans made a reverse layup, and then followed it with a triple for a 74-56 lead as Partizan started closing out the game. Tomas Dimsa nailed a three for the visitors, who cut the deficit in the final seconds through Pocius and Klimavicius to round out the scoring.
Friday, April 4, 2014