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Homenetmen and Beirut SC each played a game on the 21st of January in the Dubai Basketball Championship. While Homenetmen lost their match despite a great performance, Beirut SC was able to snatch a win in the dying minutes of overtime.

95 Points Shadowed by a Hard Defeat

Homenetmen met with the Filipino team Strong Group, which featured center Dwight Howard, who previously played in the NBA for the Orlando Magic. The game ended 104-95 in Strong Group’s favor, even though both teams put in a great performance.

The game started with both teams wasting no time in scoring, with both defenses leaving unintentional gaps. The first quarter was also very physical, as Howard and Jackson were getting aggressive on the Homenetmen’s defensive end. The Filipino team’s offense concentrated on the former NBA player, while the Homenetmen were able to draw fouls and score some shots in order to match Strong Group’s intensity. The Lebanese team extended its lead after Howard went to the bench. The quarter ended 24–17 for Homenetmen.

The second quarter was much more defensively minded, with Strong Group trying to get closer to Homenetmen in terms of points. With the two teams looking increasingly close in terms of quality, Homenetmen found their lead reduced to 5 points, yet they had a great performance on both ends (47-42).

Homenetmen required a strong start in the third quarter to preserve this important lead over a strong opponent. They could execute this strategy as they saw their lead slip away halfway through the quarter. Strong Group built on their momentum, having found a way to stop Homenetmen on their defensive end and score on the opposite. The Filipino club built a lead for itself over Homenetmen towards the end of the quarter (67–71).

With the match coming to a close and four points separating the two teams, Homenetmen quickly came back and matched Strong Group’s points. The quarter was a story of one team scoring and the other one answering on the opposite end. The two teams were very evenly matched, and supporters knew they were in for a big finale. Halfway through the last quarter, Strong Group looked like they were getting away with it, as they built an 8-point advantage. In the last minutes, the Homenetmen defense couldn’t contain Blatche’s three points, making it very difficult for them to come back. The game eventually ended in Strong Group’s favor (104–95).

Beirut SC Wins on a Narrow Lead

Beirut SC played against Al Wahda Damascus on the night of the 21st of January. Beirut SC emerged victorious after an entertaining game with a score of 89-87, with the Lebanese team showing their quality from the start of the match. This game also served as a warning for Beirut SC, who switched off in the third quarter but ultimately won the game.

The first quarter witnessed a strong start from Beirut SC, who quickly showed a great sense of organization in order to stop their opponents from scoring. Towards the end of the quarter, Beirut SC had scored 24 and only conceded 9 points, eventually building a 14-point lead. Al Wehda then reduced the deficit to 7 points, with the quarter ending 26-19.

In the second quarter, Al Wahda were on their way to close the difference as they put in a better performance than the first quarter. With 4 minutes left on the clock before halftime, the difference was only 4 points. Beirut SC then found their rhythm to stay in the lead, but the Syrian club kept fighting back. The first half ended 50-44 for Beirut SC.

In the third quarter, the game was getting increasingly harder to predict, with Al Wahda gradually getting back into the game while closing the difference. As Al Wahda were upping their intensity, Beirut SC kept their composure to stay organized and keep the game within their reach. The quarter ended 70-61 for Beirut SC, with Al Wahda still in the game.

With the score showing almost similar numbers, the last quarter proved to be very different from the first. Al Wahda started the quarter strongly as they reduced the gap to 5 points. Beirut SC started to find some difficulties on the offensive end, as they could not score for the first 4 minutes of the quarter. They finally found a breakthrough with Jarrouge’s three-pointer, but Al Wahda kept getting closer with four minutes to go. With three minutes to go, Al Wahda took the lead (76-75), which did not faze Beirut SC, who kept scoring back. The fourth quarter ended with a draw of 81-81.

The game therefore went to overtime. With 1 minute to go, the two teams could only score 4 points each (85-85). As Beirut were up 89-87, the Syrian team had the last possession but fortunately missed, giving the Lebanese team a deserved win.