Zadar had opened the series with a 70:77 win in Zagreb on Monday to put pressure on Cibona. The team from the capital managed to come back on Wednesday with a 77:73 win and returned the favor tonight.
During the opening play, Carter failed to nail his dunk as the 4000 spectators at Krešimir Ćosić Arena in Zadar saw a slow start with both sides acting slightly nervous. It took almost 3 minutes before Thompson made a free throw to open the scoring.
After finishing the first quarter with a slight lead (19:17), the hosts benefitted from Cibona center Branković getting into foul trouble early. Zadar pulled away to 34:24 within the first 5 minutes of the second quarter and, despite only scoring once again, went into half-time with a 36:30 lead.
During the second half, Okorn Gašper’s team held Zadar to only 26 points and decided the game with a strong fourth quarter effort. Top scorers for the guests were Toni Nakić (16 points), Roko Prkačin (13) and Lovro Gnijdić (10).
Zadar coach Srđan Hellbich did not seem to have listened to his own words. After the defeat in game two, he had criticized himself for not adding any of his young players to the rotation, only to play the routine rotation again tonight. Zadar’s top scorers were Thompson with 14, Drežnjak with 12, and Mavra with 11 points.
Both teams will meet again in Zadar on Tuesday, where Cibona may already win this year’s title.
Result by quarters: 19:17, 17:13, 11:14, 15:23
Referees: Hordov Tomislav, Jurčević Josip, Gracin Franko
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