By Yarone Arbel
Seven days are in the books now and the quarterfinals are beginning to come into focus.
As usual few things are crystal clear but still, the good news has continued for teams like Slovenia and the bad news has gotten worse for the likes of Germany and Turkey.
The Good News
Slovenia's (almost) perfect run- Germany was very soft on defense last night, and that was one of the reasons Slovenia won so easily, but nobody can take credit from the Slovenians understanding that taking what you are given is sometimes an art in and of itself. After leading 13-7 early, Slovenia went on a 17-2 run through the end of the first quarter, and that run was close to perfection. Four out of five from the floor and eight out of nine free throws sank the German submarine. Five of the seven Slovenians who were on court in those minutes took part in that scoring run. Points were collected from the charity stripe, behind and inside the arc.
A Gigli run- Italy's former number one draft pick, Andrea Bargnani, gets a lot of attention but there's another big guy on the team, who's similar to that first pick in his game and worth a look. Angelo Gigli of Benetton Treviso is a 207 cm forward who can hurt you from the inside and the outside but can also help in other fields. Turkey felt it to the bone. Halfway through the third, down by ten, 39-49, Gigli started the Italian run with a dunk which he followed with a long range shot. After Marco Belinelli helped with three points of his own Gigli made a block, drew the third foul from Mehmet Okur and added two more from the line. Then it was time for a defensive rebound, and two more points at the other end. A total of nine points, one block and one rebound in the 12-2 Italian run which tied the game for the first time since 0-0. Gigli, almost by himself, turned a double-digit margin game into a new game, in three minutes. Italy won and survived for now.
|Mehmet Okur and Turkey were forced into bad shots in their overtime loss to Italy.|
The Bad News
Big subs- A minute inside the game with Slovenia the German forward, Ademola Okulaja scored a three-pointer and his team took a 3-2 lead, it would be it's first and last. Four minutes later it was still ok. Slovenia led only 13-7, but then coach Dirk Bauermann decided to change things. Rarely do we see coaches change almost the entire line-up but Bauermann changed everything, except the presence of the great Dirk, after which came the deluge as Slovenia made a 19-2 run that eventually decided the game. The next sub of Bauermann was to take out Dirk himself, but that was already when Slovenia held a 27-9 lead. Game over. Move on. "Games like that, as bad as they are, don't define who you are and what you are," said Bauermann after the game. "What defines you is the ability to bounce back, and we will bounce back on the next game." Bauermann, a very good and knowledgeable coach, was probably wrong with those subs but he was 100% right with his comment.
Shot selection- This was an issue for the Turkish team since day one here, but in the overtime against Italy it cost them the game. Ibrahim Kutluay tried to beat the buzzer with a three-point shot that could have won the game, but that was a good shot - totally open in the corner for as great a great shooter as Ibo. That's something you want to have. The problem was in the overtime. Engin Atsur opened the extra time with a three-point shot that went in, and gave Turkey their last lead of the night, but he followed that with a miss from the same range, a turnover, and watched Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur force shots and miss from long range as well. Turkey scored only five points in overtime, and none in the last 3:40 minutes.