David Hein has been covering the Euroleague for years. When I asked him in the beginning of the year, if he would want to take over covering Partizan Belgrade a little bit he just said:”Puh, Belgrade, huh?” Well I am sure he did not expect that they would go all the way to the Top8, right David? Here is what David Hein has to say about the Cinderella story of this years’ Euroleague:
So, Dusko Vujosevic’s Partizan shocked the European basketball circuit by knocking off mighty Panathinaikos to bounce the reigning champions from the Euroleague Quarter-finals.
Well, the next giants are waiting in the shape of Tau Ceramica, a team which has gone 9-1 at home this season (the only loss coming at the hands of a red-hot CSKA Moscow who buried 14 three-pointers and won the rebound battle on the road).
Partizan has lost seven games on the road this season even though those included one point losses at Panathinaikos and Lottomatica Roma during the regular season and a two-point defeat at Panathinaikos in the Top 16.
For the Serbs to have any chance, young big man star Nikola Pekovic will have to get out of his funk in games against the big teams. He has scored in single digits in five games – 6 points at Real Madrid, 8 points at Barcelona, 6 points at home against Real Madrid (all three regular season) as well as 7 points at Panathaikos and 9 points in the decisive Last 16 win at home vs Panathaikos – the only time Partizan picked up a win without Pekovic scoring in double digits.
Point guard Milt Palacio will have to pick up his game regardless. But I don’t see Partizan winning this series.
Prediction: Tau wins 2-1. Should Partizan pull the upset in the first game in Spain, they will lose in Game Two at home and then the series. If Tau wins Game One, Belgrade will win Game Two at home.
But Tau will move on to the Final Four in Madrid.