Netherlands Aim To Raise Orange Wall

07 August 2014
6. Worthy De Jong (Netherlands)
"The preparation has ended in an upward trend but now we need to take one more step, in the official games" - Worthy De Jong

On the cold evidence of results achieved in their recent warm-up games during preparations for the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round, Netherlands should probably be worried.

The Dutch claimed a win against Switzerland on 27 July but then lost to Romania the following day and picked up a further two defeats over the weekend, in back-to-back friendlies against Czech Republic.

Netherlands only averaged 62.5 points per game in these three encounters and, on Wednesday night, they concluded their preparations with a 58-52 loss to their neighbours Belgium, at home in Den Bosch.

In a clash were scoring a basket resembled mission impossible, the hosts led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, Belgium pushed ahead 30-26 at half-time and the Dutch returned to tie the scores at 42 at the start of the final frame.

In the clutch, Pierre Antoine Gillet drilled a triple to bring Belgium ahead 53-49 and the more experienced team of Eddy Casteels held on to claim the win.

Axel Hervelle led all Belgium scorers with his 11 points and Gillet finished with 10, while for the Netherlands Worthy De Jong had 11 points and Thomas Koenis collected 10.

Despite this fourth consecutive loss however, the Dutch thanked the 1,500-strong local crowd for their support and left the arena with the sense of a job well-done.

They have their reasons.

"This is our game, this is how we want to play," De Jong explained.

"What we want, is to to keep the opponent under 70 points anyway.

"How many points exactly did Belgium score tonight? 58? I think that is quite an achievement.

"We gave away a couple of offensive rebounds in the second quarter and had five turnovers.

"Three turnovers per quarter is normal for us, but five is just too much.

"Today's lesson is that we have to play 40 minutes up and down and not lose focus for a single moment, we simply cannot afford it."

The Dutch went through an impressively hectic schedule this summer, involving an amount of travelling and friendly encounters with other national teams so high, that just the smooth conclusion of preparations must have constituted a significant logistical challenge.

It might not have produced an avalanche of wins in warm-up games for coach Toon Van Helfteren's team, but it has helped them build an enviable level of cohesion and team character.

The Netherlands will probably not out-score any team in Group B of the 2nd Qualifying Round but they firmly believe that, on their good day, they are capable of out-defending any of their three adversaries.

That is precisely the game plan the Dutch will follow from Sunday onwards.

"We need to fine-tune some final details," said De Jong.

"We are a young team and now it's going to be about the real thing.

"The preparation has ended in an upward trend but now we need to take one more step, in the official games.

"I think it is possible."

On Sunday, the opening day of the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round, the Netherlands play on the road against Bulgaria, while Belgium travel to F.Y.R. of Macedonia for the Group D premiere.



10.09.2015 - EUROBASKET 2015
10.09.2015 - EUROBASKET 2015
08.09.2015 - EUROBASKET 2015

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