Eurobasket Day 3: Turkey vs. Lithuania
This one was not one of Enes Kanter’s better games; he seemed off the entire game. Wasn’t as aggressive going after boards as we’ve seen, and he was also going up soft with the ball instead of dunking it. In all of his games so far, one thing that really stuck with me is that he gets down really low (and stays down) in his defensive stance despite having knee issues. Whether it’s because he was once again going with naked knees, that wasn’t happening either in this game.
As has been the case in Turkey’s games so far, Enes came in late in the first quarter, played some in the second, and started the third. He didn’t play at all in the 4th, though, except for one possession in the final minute when he was subbed in for rebounding. In 16 minutes, he had 5 points (2-4), 3 rebounds, and 1 steal.
Despite appalling three-point shooting (3-18) by Turkey, it was a close game and came down to the wire. Lithuania only had a 4-point lead with 15 seconds left, and ended up winning 75-68 to the delight of the extremely enthusiastic home crowd.
Jonas Valanciunas, who has unwittingly and somehow become Chris Paul to Enes Kanter’s Deron Williams (two young* Euro PF/C’s taken within two picks of each other in the same draft and therefore should be compared against each other all day, every day while debates on whether my or your front office made the right choice rages on all day, every day), didn’t play.
*Jonas is exactly two weeks older than Enes.
Just like DWill and CP3, though, Enes and Jonas appear to be friends.
Enes Kanter Eurobasket First Round video coming in two days.
Random aside: It’s kind of interesting how many national team coaches speak English* to their teams. Obviously some of them are American (Russia’s David Blatt, Ukraine’s Mike Fratello), but it just goes to show how many naturalized American players there are playing at Eurobasket. Which kind of makes me wonder what’s the point of tournaments like Eurobasket when all these governments just hand out citizenship like candy. Not that I’m complaining; it scares me to think about what I’m going to do with my time when Eurobasket is over.
*Germany’s coach (who’s German) talks to his team in English maybe because of Chris Kaman. Think I heard Slovenia’s coach (who’s Serbian) addressing his team in English yesterday, and I was surprised when I heard Great Britain’s coach speaking to his team. Not because he was speaking in English, but because he had an American accent. [Trip to Wikipedia later] Ah. Great Britain’s coach, Chris Finch, is American and the Rockets’ assistant coach. He was also previously the head coach of the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers.