Dirk Nowitzki inspired formidable Germany

Dirk Nowitzki inspired formidable Germany
Dirk Nowitzki inspired formidable Germany

The night Germany honored Dirk Nowitzki could not lose to an already stunned France. The big derby was between Slovenia and Lithuania, not that the other matches went backwards. Yiannis Fileris makes the first review of EuroBasket 2022.

Well, the German national team couldn’t have lost on Dirk Nowitzki’s night! Much more so this excellent German team, which excited the crowd in Cologne and honored the greatest German basketball player (before the match the legendary jersey number 14 was retired) as it deserved. With a big win in the premiere, against France.

With two 3-pointers from Yabuzele to give France the lead early in the third period, the Tricolors looked capable of turning around a match that looked to be going in the home side’s favor from the start. With a halftime burst, however, Germany found themselves ahead 57-43 and never looked back.

The poor tricolors were trying to cover themselves, but they didn’t know who to protect first. Schrüder, Loh, Wagner, Thiemann, Theiss, Voitmann, a complete team with an excellent coach (Gordon Hebert) made wings and wings of the French team that from one point and then looked like a stunned chicken.

It’s not to underestimate this German team. EuroBasket is held at their home (the first phase for their team in Cologne, the second in Berlin and if you don’t remember the last time EuroBasket was organized on German soil (in 1993) it was won by… Germans! Dirk Nowitzki then he was 16 years old and had already started playing basketball.

A few years later he would become the incomparable leader of the National Team who served faithfully for 18 years: “I see here the whole team of 2002 (bronze medalist at the World Basketball Championship in Indianapolis) and I salute them one by one. Together we started this amazing journey and without them I wouldn’t have made it either,” said the great Dirk, while his shirt in apotheosis went to the sky of the arena in Cologne.

Wearing a tie and a nice suit, he also thanked Mark Cuban (watched the game with Mavericks coach Jason Kidd) who “let me play with the German national team every summer” and high-fived all the players of Herbert.

How can the Germans lose after all this? They also have a good team, they also found France confused and they did what they had to do.

The derby

Elsewhere in the group of fire, the first matsara happened sooner or later. The Slovenian European champions defeated Lithuania and showed with the good morning their intentions, which are none other than to maintain the achievements five years ago in Istanbul. The Slovenian national team is “baked”, coach Sekulic has been working on it for years, and Luka Doncic may be focusing all the spotlight on him, in any case, but it is not the team of one.

Luka, after all, seeing that he is misplaced from afar, made sure to masterfully serve 10 assists, most of them in the hands of Mike Tobey, who finished the match with 24 points, defeating Lithuania’s supposed big weapon, the Valanciuna duo – Soaps inside the racket.

But is it a “weapon”? Not so much. With the two centers in the same five, Lithuania looks heavy and it was clearly seen in the match that it worked better with the low formations, especially with Kuzminskas in the “4”. Lithuania is a very good team, they played straight and at a very high tempo against the Slovenians, with Marius Grigonis being excellent, exciting his compatriots who had filled the arena in Cologne and the … Panathinaikos fans.

The Lithuanians don’t give up. Every match in this group is a derby, they fought until the end (even for the difference, since possibly points handicaps will play a role even for qualification)

Luca is a player, the mastermind of this team, with his cheekbones, he has had a couple of baths because he has gained color and can offer phases like these

It’s crazy to see Luka on the pitch, but between us Goran Dragic is like the catalyst that keeps the Slovenian machine running. The years pass, his pout has turned white but he insists on showing us how great he is. And perhaps one of the most underrated Europeans who had a career in the NBA.

The blunder

Okay, it’s not possible for the Slovenian National Team to take a taxi to the stadium! The European champions saw that the coach that would take them to the arena in Cologne had not arrived on time and the team officials had to find a taxi to be on time at the stadium. Dragic tweeted and images of Slovenians in taxis went viral

The thriller

…(or how unlucky are you Ilias Zouro?) Jonathan Tabu’s 3-pointer with 3 minutes left in overtime in Tbilisi gave Belgium a big 79-76 victory in a breathless game that lasted two and a half hours and knocked out Goga Bitatze. Georgia’s NBAer saw Jean-Marc fall on his leg, a little clumsily left, went to the bench, re-entered but in the next period, where he got a rebound and won the shots, he showed that he could not continue.

How unlucky can Elias Zouros be, who saw his team overturn a 12p difference, lose their best player (after Toko Sengelia who sprained his shoulder blade) and end up conceding a three-pointer at the end of the match?

It’s still Spain

It may now be missing the Gasol brothers, or Navarro, Calderon, (injured) Rookie Rubio and all the rest who made it Europe’s dominant force, but it’s still Spain. Sure, weak Bulgaria is no comparison, but the fiery rocha played some nice basketball, scoring 114 points, having 15 3-pointers (of 33) and 27 assists.

Sasha Vezenkov (26 points) looks hopelessly alone in Bulgaria, unless the Balkan team – apart from the Olympiakos ace – drowned altogether in the stress of the premiere. Oh, and not everyone is missing from Spain. Rudy is still with her. At 37, with the momentum of … a teenager who “sticks” four consecutive three-pointers

Was it a foul?

Montenegro does not have Vucevic on its roster, but led by giant Dublijevic and NBAer Simonovic, they returned the bunch when the Turks went into half-time up 10, but with three minutes to go they were down five.

Kendrick Perry made all the bad decisions, Shengun made it 69-68 with 24 minutes left, but the question remains: did Simonovic foul (with his elbows) on Osman, when it was not heard was the whistle blown to give Montenegro the win? In the first year it appeared that it was a foul, but we didn’t see a replay to make sure.

Right after that Korkmaz scored the buzzer beater of the day (no matter anyway, unless point differentials play a role in the end)

Not exactly a cop

Bosnia will not be a negligible amount in Cologne and in the most difficult group of the first phase. The “beast” Jusuf Nurkic worked well, in the victory over the determined Hungarians. Anyone who underestimates Bosnia can pay for it. And in this group no mistakes or banana peels are allowed. Bosnians know basketball and Janan Musa, John Roberson can also provide a spectacle

The statement of the day

Ergin Ataman didn’t hide behind his finger: “We didn’t deserve to win, I tell you the truth. With the exception of the second quarter, we played very bad basketball” he commented after the match with Montenegro to add: “The only positive thing is that we won…”

How did we go from world?

Fine! In Tbilisi, the arena was full for the Georgia match, it makes sense. In Cologne, however, the two derbies took place in a packed arena, which was well liked, who do you think? To Mark Cuban, the owner of the Mavericks who was in Germany for the ceremony in honor of Nowitzki and the first match of the “pullen” Luka Doncic

The article is in Greek

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