Tonight, I was supposed to only watch the CSKA – Barcelona Euroleague game as I wanted to follow a documentation on the Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya afterwards. However, some angry messages I got later on in the evening changed my plan.
In fact, some friend on the Internet send me messages if I am watching the game between Panathinaikos and Partizan. Apparently, it was again the referee that were deciding the game. As I don’t have a special feeling for any of those two teams, I check out the last 13 minutes of the game; that means from the where Partizan was up 56-41 in the third quarter in OAKA.
What was already important to say is that all the major players of Partizan were in huge foul trouble at that moment. Partizan must however been playing very well in before in order to build up a 15 point in the Greek capital. So I was waiting for some crazy foul calls to come and decide the game. What I saw, was an incredibly unlucky Partizan team that could only score 9 points in the last 13 minutes. You can call it monster defense, or you can call it a no call game.
The first strange call was an offensive foul for Milt Palacio after a fast break executed by Vassilis Spanoulis. The former Rocket pressed Palacio on the inbound who made then a slight move to get open, something very usual. But Kill Bill fall down on this, and drew the charge. Is it unsportsmanlike behavior or is it clever? Up to you to judge. It was called.
The more strange call in my opinion was an And 1 decision on a driving foul on Diamantidis. He got indeed fouled, but it was close to the three point line and he finished his drive with a lay-up, that counted. Come on, we are not in the NBA, and I don’t believe that this call had been made on the other side of the ocean.
The game got closer and on a very important situation, where Partizan only had 1 second left on the shot clock and a baseline inbound, the Serbs tried to go for a lob pass to Pekovic. However, he could not grab the ball as he went down in the moment the pass was made. In the replay, you could a nice Dikoudis elbow flying in direction of Pekovic who was probably not hit but tried to avoid to have his nose broken. Turnover and fast-break score for PAO.
Everything was ready for the real thriller and Partizan attacked with about 30 seconds remaining. As they missed their lay-up in traffic, with a lot of contact but if there is no clear foul, I accept to not go for a call. But then, you can not do the call that has been done on the rebound situation. For no reason at all, Mike Batiste jumps a bit away from Slavko Vranes and a foul got called on the 2m29 giant. What was that? This was a clear no call, as the ball was in Panathinaikos hands and they had the possibility to play the last offense. However, the refs decided to give them two free-throws, which they made.
The last possession was then concluded by huge blockshot by Batiste again.
So was this a referee robbery again? Like last week in Madrid were an imaginary unsportsmanlike foul from Jonas Maciulis decided the win for Real? I think that always, on every level in basketball, the bigger teams get favored by the refs. That’s natural as you can not either help the small teams to win. That’s not the job of the referee. The same persons that are calling now scandal will probably also call scandal when top players are not protected enough by the refs. But what pisses me off, in general, not only in Euroleague games, that sometimes the referees decide the games. I don’t think that they do it on purpose, but one call can be enough to decide the whole game. And that happened tonight in Athens. Maybe, if Partizan had scored on the last play, the call would not have been decisive. But this did not happen. So I can understand the frustration but this game was not a clear referee robbery in my opinion in opposition to last weeks Real vs. Zalgiris game.