13.5 months ago with a legendary cap on Ayton and an incredible alley oop the John Antetokounmpo he had led the Bucks to a semi-championship victory over the Suns in their fifth NBA Finals.
The Greek Freak experienced the ultimate deja vu with the incredible things he did in the last minute of the national team’s premiere in Eurobasket. Tap to Zubac at 57” saving the +2, reverse nail at 46” for +4, tap on Simon’s three-pointer at 9” and goal-foul on the other side of the floor. What can we say now… The guy surpassed what he did back then in Phoenix!
But it was not only Giannis, but also the other seven (Loundzis and Larentzakis played little) who were decisive for the Greek team to enter on the right. And take a victory which has a much greater value than a purely statistical one, as it “paves” (theoretically) the way for the continuation and hardens its metal even more.
The adaptation of Giannis, the missing killer and the defense for a seminar
Croatia stepped into Milan and decided to play… catenation, perhaps influenced by the Italian climate. With her defense tamboured at 3-4 meters, she openly provoked Giannis, Kalathis and Thanasis to shoot. They, after unsuccessfully trying to threaten from a distance, immediately adapted. The Greek Freak stopped extorting attempts, he made the well-known kick out passes but unlike what happened in the previous events, this time there was the killer. Dorsey, in the role of a sniper but also… marked, took it upon himself to unseat the National Team and everything became easier.
Certainly defense was the starting point for everything. Where Itoudis’ plan was “married” with the self-denial of Papanikolaos, Thanasis, Agravanis and the other children, making life difficult for the Croats. The National… Defense, with the quick changes and outstretched hands for every ball, disorganized the opponents who made 12 mistakes in the half and were fatally left with 30 points. At the same time, although the Greek team had few opportunities in the open court and their three-point percentage quickly deteriorated (5/20 at halftime), the fact that they closed the first 20 minutes without a mistake contributed equally decisively to the difference.
Relaxation, fatigue, rights and… clutch
The +16 of the half time combined with the necessarily short rotation led to relaxation, fatigue and bad choices, as a result of which the National team gave rights to the Croats. Smith and Simon “heated up”, the mistakes in the second half jumped to eight and the game became a derby. In the end, his class spoke Giannis Antetokounmpo which proved even to the last skeptic how it can also be closer. What else, besides two decisive blocks and five points, does one man do in the final minute to win the title?
At the end of the day, the Nationals beat a very talented and probably underrated team without their two centers, eight players in the rotation, getting just 13 of their 89 points in the open court and ultimately shooting just 30% in the field. three-pointers (33%) and 76% on shots (19/25). That in itself only optimistic message can be considered for a team that learns by winning, builds character and self-confidence, while waiting for the injured to find a rhythm soon and for reinforcements to arrive from the “cavalry”, Papagiannis and Costas Antetokounmpo.
PS1: Bad refereeing in the premiere. From Saric’s (accidental or intentional, it doesn’t matter) landing on Dorsey’s landing spot which fortunately did not cause injury, to the continued furious protesting of the Croatians who were penalized with just one technical penalty.
PS2: The match against Italy on Saturday is completely different. They don’t have the talent or the size of Croatia, but they are a much tougher team and play at home. Equally difficult, if not more difficult match.
*See you on Sunday at bwinSPORT FM 94.6, 12:00-14:00, in the company of Panagiotis Kefalas. Talk with lots of basketball, reports, interesting guests, quizzes. Those who are faithful, labor in our company.