Alba Berlin jumps on uneasy Partizan

2022-10-07T21:58:22+00:00 2022-10-08T10:59:28+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

07/Oct/22 21:58

Growing pains for Partizan Mozzart Bet in the return to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague

By Eurohoops Team/

Brilliant start to the new Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, Alba Berlin welcomed both Partizan Mozzart Bet and Zeljko Obradovic back into the competition.

The lead went up to 26 points in the first half and the German outfit confidently marched to the win, 100-84, in Mercedes-Benz Arena Friday night.

Plenty of young stars on both sides, Tamir Blatt dropped 16 points starting his second campaign in Europe’s premier club competition. Two three-pointers in the fourth quarter held off Partizan’s comeback bid. Experienced all-around contributor Luke Sikma threw in 15 points, seven assists, and six rebounds.

“We had two guys out at the last minute,” said Sikma referring to the late scratches of Yanni Wetzell and Ben Lammers, “I am very proud of the team for the way we reacted.” Marcus Eriksson and Malte Delow were already placed on the injury list.

“We did a great job playing 40 minutes at 100% intensity,” commented Louis Olinde after posting an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double to go along with four assists, “They came back, but we focused on us and stayed calm playing our game, being physical and then running on offense. We can be proud of how we played today.”

In his EuroLeague debut, a few months after being selected with the 36th overall pick of the 2022 NBA draft, Gabriele Procida scored 12 points, including nine in the second quarter as the lead grew to 26 points. At the top of his seventh season, Maodo Lo tallied 11 points falling two points shy of 1,500 in his EuroLeague career.

The 11.173 fans in attendance enjoyed multiple solid offensive showings. Making the most of the defensive struggles of the visitors, a 17-2 sprint in the bottom half of the first quarter made it 33-18 at the end of the first quarter. Peaking at 46-20, the healthy lead was enough to form the 1-0 record following Regular Season Round 1.

“They played a very good game, moving the ball excellently,” confessed Obradovic summing up the contest, “It was key for them to score 61 points in the first half.”

Back in EuroLeague after eight years and with the legendary tactician in charge, Partizan surely expected more from the opening week. Dante Exum went off with 11 points, early in the first quarter. The Australian guard, the fifth pick of the 2014 NBA draft, ended up logging a game-high 22 points in the losing effort. Danilo Andjusic had 14 points and Kevin Punter and Zach LeDay went for 13 points each. On the injury list were Alen Smailagic, Aleksa Avramovic, and Gregor Glas.

“It was the first game for our club after a long time,” mentioned Obradovic in the postgame press conference regarding the former European champions finally back in EuroLeague, “It is just the beginning of the competition. Of course, we must use this game to improve.”

Gradually improving defense after the break but surrendering 12 offensive rebounds and allowing second-chance points did not help. Six of those rebounds were pulled down by Olinde. Moreover, the winning side dished out 31 assists.

“The 31 assists were very good but not the main thing. The main thing was passing and moving the ball the whole game. This is much better than simply having assists,” noted head coach Israel Gonzalez.

Outside the EuroLeague, Alba came in with a 2-0 record in Germany’s easyCredit BBL. The Belgrade giant is 1-0 in AdmiralBet ABA League.

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