Eurobasket Round 2, Game Ones: Turkey vs. France, Russia vs. Finland
Turkey vs. France
7 of the 10 starters in this game are NBA players: Boris Diaw, Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum, and Tony Parker for France, and Hedo Turkoglu, Omer Asik, and Ersan Ilyasova for Turkey. It was also the second game in a week that Asik was facing a Bulls teammate (earlier he faced Luol Deng in Turkey vs. Great Britain).
France’s four NBA players took 67% of France’s shots, and combined for a FG% of .300 (12-40). Turkey’s three NBA players, meanwhile, accounted for 41% of Turkey’s shots and combined for a FG% of .375 (9-24).
Enes Kanter didn’t get in the game until 5:30 in the second quarter. With every game, I discover something new to like about Kanter’s game. In this one, it was how he doesn’t give up on plays, which means that even if he bobbles a pass or fumbles a rebound, he has the instincts to still end up scoring or holding onto the ball.
Also loved the way he was just backing Joakim Noah down in the post like he wasn’t even there (though scoring on Noah was a different story. Enes was able to draw fouls on Noah, but needs to work on the scoring part). Granted Noah is more twig than trunk, but he’s still a center that Kanter will be facing in the NBA.
France had a 13-point lead through 3 quarters, but Turkey went on a 10-2 run to close it to 3 with 45 seconds left, 2 with 25 seconds left, and 1 with 5 seconds left. Wasn’t meant to be for Turkey, though.
Kanter’s line: 4 points (2/5), 2 rebounds, and 1 block in 10 minutes.
Russia vs. Finland
The Russia-Finland pre-game drama went a lil something like this:
–First, the arena crew played the Estonian national anthem for Finland.
–Then, the USSR anthem for Russia.
–Then, a truncated version of the Finnish anthem.
–Then, there was a moment of silence for the Russian hockey team that was killed in the plane crash (for which the Russian team wore black patches–pictured above–on their uniforms). The arena crew forgot to hold the moment of silence, and had to be reminded by the Russian coach.
–Then, there were a few dinky bars of a synthesized version of the Russian anthem.
–Then, the correct Russian national anthem.
–Then, that truncated version of the Finnish anthem again.
–The correct, full-length Finnish national anthem (this time, the Finnish players didn’t even come out onto the court and line up. They just stood where they were in a crowd around their bench.)
–Team huddles; starters take the floor.
–Another moment of silence with only the starters on the floor.
Unlike in the NBA, start times actually mean something in Eurobasket, so it was something of an anomaly that the game tipped off 10-15 minutes late.
For the first few minutes of the game, almost every one of Russia’s possessions were broken with turnovers or deflections. Fortunately for Russia, Finland kept passing the ball back to them–11 TOs combined in the first quarter and 37 for the game. It was tied at 14-all with 2 minutes to go in the first quarter, but between then and halftime, Russia went on a 9-0 run that turned into 19-6 (while holding Finland to 6 points in Q2) to break it wide open. Wasn’t close after that.
With Russia leading by 21 after three quarters, AK didn’t play in the fourth quarter–partially because of Russia’s lead, and partially because the team doctors asked David Blatt to keep AK out so that he wouldn’t tear his stitches.
AK’s line: 14 points (5-6), 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block in 24 minutes.
With this win, Russia is assured of a place in the quarterfinals (can’t figure out how the system works since every team in this round still has two games left, but something to do with point differential I think).
You can thank the TV crew for this extreme close-up of AK’s cut/bandage. At least, that’s what I think they’re trying to show:
Russia and France are the only teams in Eurobasket that still have perfect records. Russia has a perfect record despite, according to the fun, nifty stat facts that kept popping up during the game, having the worst FT% among teams still in this. Next up: Turkey faces Germany, and Russia faces
The Koof Greece The Koof’s Greece.
Videos coming after this round concludes on Monday.