Goran Dragic stifled by Team USA, Hedo Turkoglu leads Turkey over Russia

Posted by on August 29th, 2:48 pm

After a stellar performance in Slovenia’s opening victory over Tunisia, foul trouble and Team USA’s pressure defense limited The Dragon Sunday morning in America’s 99-77 win over Slovenia.

Goran Dragic scored just seven points on 2-for-8 shooting (with three coming on a garbage trey in the game’s final minute) to go with four assists, two boards and three turnovers.

Foul trouble plagued Dragic all game, as he picked up three first-half fouls that kept forcing him to the bench, and none of them were particularly smart fouls (particularly the third as Dragic tried to provide pressure in the backcourt).

He did a nice job setting up his teammates as aside from his four dimes teammates blew shots or were fouled on a number of other setups. However, he seemed to force the issue too much with his own offense, taking difficult contested shots that you rarely see him take in Phoenix.

With the Suns, he can let the game come to him since there isn’t too much of a scoring burden on Dragic in Phoenix. If he has an open opportunity then he can take it, but the Suns don’t rely on his offense.

It’s a different story with Slovenia, so Dragic forced a number of pull-up jumpers that are very low percentage shots and he predictably missed.

His court vision impressed me most in this game as Dragic was often able to find mismatches inside off the pick-and-roll and he made a number of nice passes, he just struggled to score against the Americans’ pressure defense.

The loss drops Slovenia to 1-1 in pool play. That ties them with Croatia, their next opponent on Monday at 6:30 a.m. MST. This will be a huge game because it will essentially clinch the winner a berth in the elimination round and give that squad a very good chance at a top-three pool seed along with Team USA (2-0) and Brazil (2-0), who will face off Monday at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN.

Brazil took down Tunisia on Sunday behind a big game from former Sun Leandro Barbosa. LB exploded for 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting (2-for-2 on threes) to go with six boards and four steals but no assists.

Turkoglu keeps Turkey undefeated in pool play

Meanwhile in Group C, Hedo Turkoglu led Turkey to an important 65-56 victory over Russia to up their record to 2-0 in pool play.

Turkoglu did not shoot particularly well in this one — 6-for-16 from the field, 2-for-8 from three — but by taking more than twice as many shots as his closest teammates he managed to lead Turkey in scoring with 14 points while also recording three rebounds, three assists and a block and a steal.

For the tournament Turkoglu is now 6-for-22 from the field (27.3 percent) and 2-for-12 from three (16.7 percent), but really all that matters is he’s leading his squad to victories.

Russia (1-1) had previously beaten Puerto Rico, so now Turkey is tied atop Group C with Greece (2-0), the group favorite that squeaked by China by eight and Puerto Rico by three. The Greeks were also blown out in a home exhibition game by Team USA, so with the home-court advantage factored in for Turkey, they have a real shot at winning the group.

With Greece next on Turkey’s schedule when they resume play on Tuesday, a victory there would but Turkoglu’s squad in the driver’s seat to take the group.

Up next: Dragic and Slovenia will face off against Croatia on Monday at 6:30 a.m. MST and Turkoglu and Turkey get Greece at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Goran Dragic · Hedo Turkoglu · Leandro Barbosa · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns News · World Championship

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 stevo // Aug 29, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Has anyone been watching slovenia? Primoz brecec might be worth a look on a make good contract for camp.

  • 2 Cresth.. // Aug 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I mean "second half"

  • 3 KJ Loyalist // Aug 30, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Dragic doesn’t worry me.

    Turk and that shooting percentage does though. He needs to be absolute money from the field.

  • 4 Jasper Buckleman // Aug 30, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Dude, what happened to this site in the middle of the night? It was scary.

  • 5 Kyle Fleeger // Aug 30, 2010 at 3:58 am

    I think that the USA was smart in forcing Goran to go right. He showed that his driving to that side is not nearly as powerful or decisive as when he goes left. That being said, I think there is a lot to like about Goran's game against the U.S. (not his shooting performance). Goran created opportunities out of the pick n roll and by penetrating the lane, he just seemed to have his teammates miss every assists attempt he made. Goran played great in today's game as well!

    He scored 14 points on 50% shooting and had 4 rebounds and 4 assists. He did turn the ball over too much (5 times) but at the same time, his team was able to secure the victory and basically insure themselves a spot in the final 16. The game I am most excited to see from GROUP B is the U.S.A. vs. Brazil in 30 minutes, and Goran vs. Leandro when Slovenia plays Brazil in their second true test of the Championships!

    More Goran!

    As for Hedo… He is doing work, but hasn't been able to score, and do the little play-making things he does. He has either scored it well, or distributed it well, hopefully tomorrow, he shows that he can do both.


  • 6 Cresth.. // Aug 30, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I watched the game turkey-russia.. hedo couldnt start good with O/8 but second half just like he was play for orlando,he had 6/8 .. he was the key turkey won the game so you all also dont worry about hedo ;)

  • 7 Michael Schwartz // Aug 30, 2010 at 6:17 am

    @Jasper and anything else who was on the site late last night: We were switching hosting accounts, and that was the negative byproduct. The site up was a site that a buddy of mine owns, and it was up between the time I un-installed it on that server and re-installed in on the new one. Good to know that I have some readers at that time. Sorry as well if you got the e-mail with a story from that site in it.

  • 8 Mike // Aug 30, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Hey guys. Looks like your feedburner may have been taken by another website, sportsculture.com. Check your RSS feed. Sorry to let you know via comments but your “Contact” form isn’t working properly (no “Submit” button and it looks like your Captcha is missing too).

    Hopefully you can get the RSS issue corrected soon – I need my daily VOTS fix.

  • 9 Michael Schwartz // Aug 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    @Mike Like I was telling Jasper, we were switching over and I expected some issues to arise. I just checked the RSS feed and it looks to be in fine working order. Please let me know if you notice this not to be the case.

  • 10 Mike // Aug 31, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Thanks, Michael. RSS is all good now, but “Submit” button is still missing on your Contact form.

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