Hosts Ready To Tip-Off Against Bulgaria

06.09.2009

By Adriana Garcia Senchermes

Finally, after all the blood, sweat and tears needed to stage a major event like the EuroBasket, Poland's national team will play a meaningful game in front of their home fans.

Having the sixth man at every game is a major advantage at a European Championship so the Poles will look to capitalize, starting with Bulgaria on Monday in Wroclaw.

The Poles, led by former Israel national team boss Muli Katzurin, are an intriguing team.

When everything is clicking they can compete with the best in Europe, as they did in a warm-up game with world champions Spain earlier this summer.

Maciej Lampe has come into form at the right time and that is hugely significant with his fellow big man Marcin Gortat also in the line-up and coming off a first appearance in the NBA Finals with the Orlando Magic.

The naturalized Pole from the United States, David Logan, provides points on the perimeter.

The Bulgarians, despite the absence of Ibrahim Jaaber this month - their leading scorer in qualifying - are dangerous and the biggest reason why is coach Pini Gershon.

The Israel is one of the best tacticians in the game, one who has attempted to plant seeds of confidence in his own players while creating doubt in the minds of the Poles by saying the EuroBasket hosts will be under immense pressure on opening day.

The incorporation of Vassil Evtimov into the line-up has beefed up the forward line.

Todor Stoykov is a veteran who should provide leadership.

Bulgaria's players will go into the game with heavy hearts following the tragic boating accident in Lake Ohrid, in the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia, in which there were casualties from their country.

Stats: Poland were an impressive 13 of 25 (52%) from beyond the arc in their 88-83 defeat to world champions Spain in a friendly last week.
 
Key Match-Up: Much is expected from the newcomers David Logan and Earl Rowland in their first major competition representing Poland and Bulgaria, respectively. Logan was the third leading scorer in the Euroleague last season averaging 16.9 points per game for Asseco Prokom. His points production is going to be essential for Poland. Rowland is fast, athletic and versatile and will no doubt try to help shut down Logan on the perimeter.
 
X-Factor: Vassil Evtimov gives Bulgaria a big body under the basket. If he makes life  harder for the  Polish big men, Marcin Gortat and Maciej Lampe, Bulgaria will fancy their chances of sprining an upset.

Sounding Off: "We have to hope that our fans will help us. We have to play hard, play defense and do what our coach tells us to do.The key is going to be transition defense. We have to realise that their big men can shoot three-pointers and obviously we have to defend and fight for the rebounds and play as a team. We have to forget about our egos. Everyone has to understand his role and play hard. If we do that, I'm 100% sure we are going to win the game." - Poland center Marcin Gortat.

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