Weekday Euro Ball: Turkey and Ukraine
On Wednesday and Thursday, Turkey and Ukraine played two games each in the four-team adidas Istanbul Cup 2011, aka the home of the tasseled basket.
Turkey played New Zealand in its first match, winning 70-64. Enes Kanter probably had his best game so far, collecting 14 points on 6-8 shooting and 6 rebounds, and was the leading scorer for Turkey. I don’t know if this bears mentioning, but Hedo Turkoglu and Ersan Ilysova had yet another pukey shooting night, going for a combined 1-13 from the floor.
The second day pitted the winners from the first day against each other and the losers against each other, i.e. Turkey vs. Montenegro and Ukraine vs. New Zealand.
First up was Ukraine vs. New Zealand. Watching was a pretty interesting experience: It was like sitting in the nose-bleed section. Single-camera affair; no zoom; no on-screen score/clock/graphics. Instead of flashing the score after every point made or at every break, the camera panned up to the scoreboard. It was basically an out-of-the-corner-of-the-bird’s-eye view.
Trying to figure out whether Fes was on the floor was a process of elimination. Not him–he’s too black. Not him–he’s too tan. Not him–he’s too skinny. Not him–he’s too short. Not him–he’s wearing knee pads. Not him–he’s bringing the ball down the floor. There was one guy wearing one wristband that almost had me fooled. The announcer also had me looking for Fes for a while, but it turned out he was talking about a guy named Kolchenko.
Here are Fes’ highlights against New Zealand:
If the video is not self-explanatory: All my eye strain was wasted because Fes did not get in the game. It didn’t matter though, because everything he does is funny. The squatting down during intros so that his teammates had to bend down to slap his hand (the next guy down just patted Fes on the head rather than bend down) and the debonair way he applauds the crowd at the end makes me not care about the nothingness in between. Ukraine lost 78-85.
The final match of the tournament was Turkey vs. Montenegro. Enes had another strong (“strong” = “encouraging to Jazz fans”) showing, pouring in 8 points (3/4) and pulling down 10 boards in 20:38, which included the entire fourth quarter. His night also included this epic putback that totally just made my day:
Turkey prevailed, taking it 85-78, which I guess makes them the winner of this:
In conclusion: Ukraine (5-5) and Turkey(4-4) both went .500 in preparation games. However, Ukraine (1.7) fared significantly better on the point differential front than Turkey (-5.0).