|30 August 2012|
|If Jonas Jerebko does not play on Thursday, Sweden coach Bradley Dean expects other players, like guard Kenny Grant, to step up and produce the goods |
Sweden coach Bradley Dean has told his players there can be no excuses if the team fails to win at home against Bulgaria on Thursday night.
The Swedes are in Group B behind Germany (4-0) and have a 2-2 record - the same mark as Bulgaria and Azerbaijan.
There is a ready-made defence for Sweden fans if Jonas Jerebko doesn't play.
He's still an uncertainty because of the sprained ankle he suffered on Monday night in the game against Luxembourg and his availability still isn't known.
Dean says no one should be thinking like that.
"Whether Jonas can play or not, we have no excuses and we don't want any," Dean said.
"Our goal is to go to EuroBasket 2013...
"A good start is to win against Bulgaria and if we don't do it, we fight on.
"We should bear in mind that it may be enough to get third in the group."
Jerebko isn't sure what is going to happen with his ankle.
He spent all of Wednesday receiving treatment and didn't practice with the team.
"We'll see how it goes," the 25-year-old said.
"Anyway, I think we are a better team than Bulgaria, but it is not worth talking about.
"It's about showing it on the court.
"We did not play really well when we lost away from home against Bulgaria, and I think we should have won that game.
"But we managed to at least stay in the game when they led by 10 points so they did not get a huge victory. That may be important."
As it is, Bulgaria have the advantage in a potential tie-breaker with Sweden since they won the first encounter on 15 August, 78-73.
Their fate could very well depend on what happens on Thursday at home to Bulgaria.
If Sweden win by six or more, not only will they have a better record but a better goal differential in their head-to-head with Bulgaria.
"It's these types of games I want players to look forward to and love to play," Dean said.
"A win means that we'd take a huge step towards EuroBasket 2013..."