Eurobasket Round 2, Game Twos: Turkey vs. Germany, Russia vs. Greece
Another tough loss for Turkey, but they’re not out yet. Despite having lost the first two of their three games in this round, Turkey can still advance if it wins its next game against Serbia and if Lithuania beats Germany. I think.
Germany managed just 6 points in the first quarter, and Enes Kanter entered the game with about a minute remaining in the quarter. The first few minutes of the second quarter were pretty Kanter-centric, with Enes being called for travelling, scoring on Dirk, scoring on Kaman, drawing a shooting foul on Dirk, and scoring on Dirk again. On the other end, Kanter was mainly defending Dirk until he checked out, after which he was put on Kaman.
Random aside: Isn’t it interesting that Dirk Nowitzki–a beneficiary of Mark Cuban’s legendary generosity–and Chris Kaman–a victim of Donald Sterling’s legendary stinginess–are on the same team? I wonder if they have conversations in which Dirk lists out all the perks he gets as a Mav while Kaman is just astounded that such miracles exist/happen.
As in Turkey’s last game vs. France, Kanter looked pretty darn good backing his future NBA brethren down in the post. Unlike Turkey’s last game vs. France, Kanter found a deft touch around the basket and showed that he’s got some real moves down low, including a seriously gorgeous up-and-under move.
Enes also got his second-half starting gig back in this one, and despite being matched up against Dirk or Kaman the entire night, played the most minutes he has in three games. He was on the floor the entire third quarter and the first few minutes of the fourth. After losing its lead midway through the third, Turkey clawed its way back to make it a 1-point game with 23 seconds remaining but couldn’t pull it out.
What I’d like to see from Kanter going forward: going after rebounds more aggressively. It’s what he’s known for; it’s a skill that translates to the NBA. However, Enes hasn’t grabbed more than five rebounds in a single game since the first one.
Kanter’s final line: 11 points (5-5), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 travels in 19 minutes.
P.S. Is anyone monitoring Germany’s development of time travel technology? This German player (#6) was clearly transported into present day from the ’90s:
Two days ago, we had a close-up of AK’s bandage. Today, close-up of AK’s stitches:
And there the Koof was, starting the second half. There he was, on the floor at the end of the game. There he was, getting rebounds and steals. There he was, turning into Captain (Sky) Hook and scoring right and left–literally. Koufos with the left-handed hook? Seriously? Who knew?
Unfortunately, the rest of the Greek team neglected to cross themselves and Greece wasn’t getting it done on offense or defense after halftime. Going into the game, they had the lowest opponent FG% and were second in points allowed (Russia was first), but allowed Russia to shoot >70% in the second and third quarters. At the same time, after collecting 11 assists in the first half, Greece had none in the third and just one in the fourth.
Although he did score in double figures, where AK made his mark on this game was his assists. Four of his five dimes, which was tied for team-high and also the most Andrei has collected in Eurobasket so far, came in the second half.
The game was still within reach for Greece until Sergei Monia drained two 3-pointers with 2:43 and 1:49 left, respectively, to cap a 10-0 Russia run and break it open to a 15-point game. Those were also his first points of the game. Afterwards, AK said that this was Russia’s best performance at Eurobasket so far. Russia is now 7-0.
AK’s line: 13 points (4-8), 8 rebounds (5 offensive), 5 assists, and 2 steals in 33 minutes.
Kosta Koufos’ line: 15 points (6-9; team high), 3 rebounds, and 1 steal in 18 minutes.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine of the Night
** English commentator: “…as Mozgov bends over. I think sometimes David Blatt just wants to get it off his chest.”