Crvena Zvezda takes first Game of the Week against Galatasaray
The first Game of the Week this season witnessed a beautiful, energetic Group D duel between Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade and Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul on Thursday night. In front of a jam packed Kombank Arena in Belgrade, Serbia, Zvezda stepped up and took the first win of the season thanks to the connection between point guard Marcus Williams and big man Boban Marjanovic, who led the way to a 76-68 win for the hosts. Zvezda started the game strong, but Pietro Aradori launched Galatasaray to a 0-12 burst to jump ahead. However, Jaka Blazic led the comeback for Zvezda, and Marjanovic and Williams took care of the rest in the second half, as the athleticism of the hosts, combined with the energy of the fans, carried the team to victory. Marjanovic was the man of the game for the winners with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Williams added 15 points and 7 assists and Blazic contributed 12 points for Crvena Zvezda. For Galatasaray, Zoran Erceg had 17 points and Aradori nailed 11.
Galatasaray manages to erase a bad start
A great atmosphere at Kombank Arena was witness to the game tip-off as Marjanovic started his paint dominance with the first bucket. Galatasaray
soon replied with two threes by Martynas Pocius and Erceg for 4-9. The atmosphere pumped the teams into a high tempo as Williams and Charles
Jenkins put the hosts ahead, 9-6. Marjanovic dominated the boards and was soon up to six points, 13-8 after a huge put-back. Galatasaray was struggling on offense, but when Marjanovic went to the bench for Zvezda, things flowed better. Aradori stepped up with five straight points, including a three, that
launched a 0-9 burst that had the guests up by 15-17. Aradori punished the rim some more with a new three, but Jaka Blazic closed the first
quarter and, snapped a 0-12 run with a layup in traffic for 17-20.
Crvena Zvezda comes back and rolls on both ends
Another huge swing put a start to the second quarter, as Maik Zirbes was up for four straight points for Zvezda to put the hosts ahead again, and then it was
time for Blazic, who nailed eight consecutive points, finishing up with fast penetration plays. Galatasaray was groggy as Marjanovic was back on the court and played a
two-on-two with Nikola Kalinic for 31-23. Coach Ergin Ataman had to call a timeout, and Nate Jawai soon started ticking in the paint to break a bad
run for his team, but things were falling on Zvezda's side. With big hustle on both ends of the court, the hosts kept increasing the lead from 38-26 after
Kalinic's layup, to 46-30 when Luka Mitrovic scored inside surrounded by the Galatasaray defense to send the game into halftime.
Defenses take center stage, the visitors don't quit
Defenses took over at the start of the third quarter. Zvezda used its athleticism and youth to stay on top of Galatasary, while the visitors tried to
outsmart the opponents with experience. Vladimir Micov opened fire in the second half but Marjanovic replied with a dunk inside. Carlos Arroyo also appeared
for the first time but Kalinic replied swiftly as the partial score was 4-4 after 5 minutes into the quarter. Blazic made it an 18-point game from the
stripe, while Erceg stepped up for five straight points to send a clear message: Galatasaray was far from done. Zvezda missed a couple open shots and
Galatasaray used it to get closer as baskets by Jawai and Nolan Smith made it 52-43. As if suddenly waking up, Marcus Williams hit an acrobatic three-point
play and then Nemanja Dangubic and Mitrovic posted back-to-back baskets to make it a 15-point again, 60-45. At the end of the quarter, Williams beat the buzzer with a three-pointer for 63-48, lifting the Kombank Arena crowd up on their feet.
Williams, Marjanovic seal the deal for the hosts
The connection between Williams and Marjanovic did not stop a bit at the start of the last period, as the two combined for seven quick points that made it 70-52. Ian Vougioukas presented some problems in the offensive paint for the guests, but Marjanovic was simply unstoppable. The crowd pushed its team to the limit and the big man obliged with a new dunk, 73-56. Galatasaray never let the guard down, however, and with a 0-7 burst capped by Furkan Aldemir's dunk, the guests made it an 11-point game with 3 minutes to go. Erceg still made it 74-65, but when both teams missed crucial shots, and the game was nearing completion, Williams fed Mitrovic for a layup down below that sealed the deal. Arroyo still had time to squeeze in a three-pointer thinking about possible point differentials in the future, but in the present, Crvena Zvezda fans celebrated a much deserved win.
Thursday, October 16, 2014