Anadolu Efes Istanbul continue preparing for the upcoming season and faced Partizan NIS Belgrade today at the Stark Arena in Belgrade. With the help of the packed arena, Partizan won 92-85 (23-23, 23-22, 20-19, 26-21).

Before the game, both teams paid their respects to Dusan Ivkovic, who passed away earlier today.

Partizan legend Novica Velickovic who announced his retirement during the summer, suited up for his long-time team for the last time in his career.

Partizan jumped out to an early 22-12 lead. However, Efes responded with an 11-1 run of their own and balanced the scales to end the first period (23-23).

The second quarter continued to go back and forth, with the lead changing hands nine times and neither team being able to secure a solid advantage. Velickovic stepped on the floor for the first time, with 1:56 remaining in the period. Efes players immediately let him score two easy points as a sign of respect. The half ended with a one-point advantage by Partizan (46-45).

There was a special ceremony during halftime dedicated to Velickovic, who received gifts from both teams and spoke at the center stage of the court.

The match continued to excite in the third period, bringing eight more lead changes in the quarter. The biggest lead of the quarter reached four points by Partizan. They went into the final period with a two-point advantage (66-64).

Zeljko Obradovic's squad made a strong push in the final period and gained a seven-point lead after Uros Trifunovic's 3-pointer (78-71). Efes cut their deficit to three, but a clutch long-range bomb by Rade Zagorac put the nail in the coffin with 1:14 remaining. To the delight of their home crowd, Partizan won the match by seven.

Unfortunately for Partizan, Alen Smailagic twisted his ankle during the game and did not return. The severity of the injury is not clear yet.

Efes played without four key players: Shane Larkin, Chris Singleton, Tibor Pleiss, and Krunoslav Simon.

Partizan: Rade Zagorac 15 points, Zach LeDay 14, Yam Madar 14, Kevin Punter 12, Dallas Morre 9, Rodions Kurucs 6, Uros Trifunovic 6, Dusan Miletic 6, Nemanja Dangubic 5, Gregor Glas 3, Novica Velickovic 2.

Anadolu Efes: Vasilije Micic 16, Filip Petrusev 15, Adrien Moerman 11, Bryant Dunston 9, James Anderson 9, Rodrigue Beaubois 7, Bugrahan Tuncer 7, Tolga Gecim 5, Yigitcan Saybir 4, Dogus Balbay 2.

The recording of the game:

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