Eurobasket Day 6: Turkey vs. Spain, Russia vs. Slovenia; Ukraine vs. Belgium
Thrilling finishes for Russia and Turkey. Thrilling finish for Ukraine as well seeing as how they, you know, won. At the same time, less than stellar nights from our boys despite big games the night before. I don’t know how much fatigue is a factor here given that all the teams were playing their 5th game in 6 nights, but it seemed like everyone–players and coaches–were constantly annoyed and much more prone to dramatically throwing their hands up in the air and incredulously staring at the refs when they didn’t get calls.
Turkey vs. Spain
Enes Kanter had a tough time going up against Marc Gasol. His first four possessions in the game went like this: got scored on, missed shot, didn’t touch the ball, called for foul. I could count on one hand the number of times he touched the ball in the first half, and that was including an inbounds pass.
Enes didn’t get his usual second half start. For three quarters, the score was close but Turkey was never in control and and it felt like they were only hanging around. Spain had a 5-point lead going into the fourth, and Felipe Reyes scored a bucket with 8:40 remaining. After that, Turkey closed the quarter on a 16-0 run. It was spek-ta-koo-laar.
Kanter had 2 points (1-4), 1 rebound, and 3 fouls in 14 minutes. Combine this game with the last one, and I think Jazz fans have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to get from him next season (whenever that will be/wherever he plays).
Russia vs. Slovenia
AK highlights for Russia vs. Belgium, Bulgaria, and Slovenia
Russia came out looking pretty darn awful and Slovenia scored the first seven points. AK broke Russia’s scoring drought with a desperation, shot clock-beating 3 off of a deflected pass from closer to the baseline than the 3-point line, but like Turkey, Russia was playing uninspired and letting Slovenia be the aggressor.
AK was not doing what AK does best: He spent most of the game out on the right wing and again was going up weak and seeing the ball bounce off the rim or getting stripped (though David Blatt did say in the post-game that AK was getting hacked and questioned why the referees were swallowing their whistles). With 6 minutes to go in the final quarter, AK blocked a Slovenian shot but got hit in the face on the same play. He seemed dazed for an instant but otherwise, not much reaction and was subbed out 10 seconds later with Slovenia up one.
(h/t @clintonite33) After the game, AK was taken to the hospital in an ambulance due to a possible concussion. If the camera hadn’t shown him with a bloody bandage over his eye, probably no one would’ve been any the wiser. I did wonder why he wasn’t on the floor late in the game, but I thought it was because he wasn’t having an effective night.
David Blatt put AK back in the game with 1:30 left and Slovenia still up one. (During the two subsequent timeouts, the trainer was always checking AK’s bandage. Asked about the injury later, AK said that there was no way he couldn’t not play, and that the adrenaline kick helped.) The two teams spent the rest of the game missing shots and free throws until it’s 7 seconds left, Russia ball. Blatt draws up a shot for Sergey Monya, which was pretty gutsy considering Monya was 0-6 in the game. Not only did Monya sink the shot and win the game, it was Russia’s first lead in the game. Incredible, amazing finish that gave Russia a record of 5-0 in the first round.
AK’s line: 8 points on 3-10 (1-7 on 2s; 2-3 on 3s), 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, and one gash above the eye.
Ukraine vs. Belgium
Ukraine is heading home on a high note after collecting its second win in the tournament and second Eurobasket win in ten years against the winless Belgium. Not so much of a high note for Fes; 2 points and 1 rebound in 3 minutes.
Fes highlights from Ukraine vs. Bulgaria and Ukraine vs. Georgia:
First Round Summary:
AK leads Russia in minutes, points, FTM and FTA (more than double the next guy); offensive and total rebounds, turnovers (tied), and steals (more than double the next guy). He’s also 2nd in blocks by one block.
Kanter played the 6th most minutes for Turkey and is tied for 2nd best FG% (.600). He’s 3rd in points, 1st in FTMs and 2nd in FTAs (.833), 3rd in rebounds, and 2nd in blocks.
Fes played the 9th most minutes for Ukraine and ranked 2nd in FG% (though the first place guy only had 4 FGA), 4th in rebounds, and 2nd in blocks. On the plus side, Fes collected just 3 TOs and 6 fouls in 48 minutes of play.
The Koof leads Greece in FG% (a scorching .704) and is fifth in points, tied for third in rebounds, and tied for first in blocks in the sixth most minutes.