By Yarone Arbel
A battle on the boards, twin perfection and a trend to follow if you want to be sure to LOSE a game at EuroBasket.
It's all part of the good news and the bad news for day eight.
The Good News
Rebounds- When one team is grabbing 10 more rebounds than their opponent that's something to be noticed. Yesterday we had one team who grabbed exactly 10 more – France over Turkey – but two of the other big winners went far beyond that. Lithuania
doubled Slovenia with 44 rebounds compare to 22 on their way to a 19 point win. Germany set a new tournament record and pulled down 52 boards (six more than the old record held by Slovenia) compared to 31 for Italy. Germany won 67-58, but don't say it's "only a nine point difference". In such a low scoring game nine points is a lot.
|Kirksay was nearly perfect in France's win over Turkey.|
Herber steps up- In a win-or-die game Germany expected to get the most out of Dirk Nowitzki, but that package didn't arrive. Italy did a good job defensively but also Dirk wasn't having his best shooting night hitting only five out of 19 shots. The one who came to save the day was Johannes Herber. The 24-year-old guard from Alba Berlin, who's season high was just 13 points. Against Italy he came off the bench to pour in 15 surprising points which was exactly what his team needed as they struggled on offense. But it wasn't just the number of shots he hit but when he hit them, burying a pair of three-pointers as Italy attempted to climb back in the game late.
Perfect Kirksay- The game between France and Turkey had no meaning, but the stats line of France's Tariq Kirksay still stands out. In 17 minutes he hit all five of his shots from two point range, connected on his only three-point attempt and didn't miss the net on his two foul shots. A total of 15 points without a single miss and he added four rebounds and three steals with his only negative being a pair of turnovers.
Perfect Twins- Rarely do we see two brothers on the same national team. Even less than that two identical twins, so what are the chances to see those twins produce a combined perfect night from the field? Ksystof and Darius Lavrinovic played 18 minutes each in the big win over Slovenia, and none missed a shot. Darius took only two shots from three point range and hit them both. Ksystof was perfect as well hitting three shots from long distance and adding another from close range thoug he did miss on of his foul shots.
The Bad News
Marco not enough- The team of coach Carlo Recalcati had to beat Germany to make it to the top eight, but almost nobody stepped up to salvage a very bad shooting night. Other than Marco Belinelli, who hit six of his 11 shots, and Denis Marconato, who rarely takes bad shots and this time hit three out of four, nobody managed to come even close to 50% from the field. Massimo Bulleri shot three out of 10 and Andrea Bargnani was three out of 12. Belinelli was also the only Italian who made an impact from long range hitting three of Italy's five baskets from downtown, while two players managed one each. Marco had seven attempts, while Italy a total of 23. Keep those numbers in mind and keep reading.
Where were the snipers?- Lithuania smashed Slovenia by 19 points but don't look for that difference in the paint - Slovenia scored more baskets and in better percentage than Lithuania inside the arc. It was the three-pointers that made a difference. While Lithuania recovered their average, after the bad night against Italy, hitting 11 shots from behind the arc in no less than 55%, Slovenia struggled big time. Jaka Lakovic was for Slovenia what Belinelli was for Italy as he also accounted for three of their five three pointer.
Ibo's turn- So after mentioning Lakovic and Belinelli as players who hit 60% of the total three point shots of their team, surprise-surprise here's another one that fit the profile of the best shooter on a losing team that tries to save the day with no success. Ibrahim Kutluay was responsible for three of Turkey's five three-pointers. Believe it or not Ibo was, like the others, three out of seven as Turkey hoisted up 20 three-pointers.
So three games where the three-point shooting breakdown of the losing teams was more or less the same. One guy stepping up and accounting for nearly all of your three-point shooting success is not going to get you far at this EuroBasket.