Partizan trumps Red Star 86-81 in Eternal Derby


One of the fiercest rivalries in Serbian basketball is that between BC Partizan and Crvena Zvezda “Red Star” Beograd. The latest chapter in the Eternal Derby was fought on the battleground of the Adriatic League and this time it was Partizan that emerged victorious, 86-81. Red Star was the favorite coming into this last game of Round 21 of Adriatic league action, being ranked third and all with their 15-5 record. Partizan had been struggling for majority of this first half of the season and testament to their struggles is their 8-12 record coming into to this game. Much to the glee and delight of Partizan fans in attendance, their team was able to pull off the exciting upset. Despite the loss, now at 15-6, Crvena Zvezda still manages to hold on to the third spot in the league standings. Partizan is still in ninth place.

When the opening whistle was blown, all standings blurred into irrelevance. This was a war and both sides were out there giving it their all for honor and pride.

Both teams played hard from the get-go, but it was Partizan that managed to squeeze out a 23-21 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second frame, it was Red Star’s turn to seize control, and the guests would end up with a 44-48 advantage at the half.

In the second half of the game Partizan emerged as the better team. Their shots from the outside spelled the difference. They successfully made 9-of-24 shots from three-point range, compared to Red Star’s 3-of-23. In a close game such as this one, the team that can capitalize on open looks tends to be heavily favored to triumph in the end. At that was the case here.

Maik Zirbes was a beast for Crvena Zvezda with a game-high 26 points and seven rebounds. While Partizan could not defend him and sending him to the line only resulted in him converting 12-of-14 shots from the charity stripe, they opted to go and do their counterattack from the outside. His excellent individual effort was clearly not enough to carry his team.

Partizan saw four of its players chip in 15 points or more in a balanced offense. Kevin Jones led all white shirts 17 points.

Beyond the usual high emotions that surround Eternal Derby games, this one was crucial for both clubs. It represents a shift in momentum for both teams. Red Star’s win streak was snuffed with this loss, while Partizan heads to a key game against the league leader coming off a high.

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