Eurobasket 2013: Dragic, Gortat and Kravtsov open group play

Posted by on September 4th, 3:07 pm

FIBA Eurobasket 2013 opened its group play on Wednesday, and all three Euro-Suns in Slovenia for the event took their fair share of lumps to start the event. In Group C play, Slovenian Goran Dragic had a rough individual game but saw his team pull out a slim victory against the Czech Republic and Wizards forward Jan Vesely, while Marcin Gortat’s Polish squad couldn’t hang with a Georgia squad led by former Phoenix assistant Igor Kokosov. Also in action was the Suns recent acquisition, Slava Kravtsov, who made a big play for Ukraine in a close victory against Belgium.

By the way, if you want to see the total list of NBA players playing in this year’s Eurobasket, I compiled a list of all of them for SB Nation. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports put together a primer of the event, in case you were wondering about the format and players who are missing.

Dragic has scoring struggles against the Czechs

Individually, it couldn’t have gone too much worse for Goran Dragic in front of his own nation, but Slovenia pulled out a 62-60 win against the Czech Republic to make his box score reading an afterthought. The Slovenian point guard went 3-of-15 from the floor and didn’t hit his first shot until the third quarter, at which point he threw his hands up to the heavens as if to say, “finally.”

Slovenia had a single-digit lead for much of the second half but a rally by the Czechs behind Vesely’s 17 points made it testy down the stretch. Dragic looked willing to take over, but on one crucial play lost control of his dribble going over a routine pick-and-roll and then, once he penetrated, kicked a bad pass to an open three-point shooter. That was perhaps a microcosm of his day, as the Slovenian’s eventually got a shooting foul on that same play.

To be fair, Dragic did record nine assists and controlled the tempo well in a tight game. But he also had six turnovers.

That won’t be good enough in a Group C that includes Eurobasket favorite Spain.

Gortat doesn’t get enough help in Poland’s loss

Marcin Gortat put in 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks but in the end Poland didn’t have enough to beat a Georgia team led by former Suns assistant Igor Kokosov. Georgia pulled out an 84-67 win Wednesday.

Gortat’s assist totals likely should have been greater. Georgia put the pressure on the Suns center and former Suns big man Maciej Lampe with double-teams, but the Polish perimeter scorers hit an abysmal 3-of-16 from beyond the arc. Per Eurobasket2013.org:

“We knew that they have two dominant big men so we were prepared for that, we knew we had to double-team all the time and it worked out well,” said Sanikhidze, explaining Georgia’s defensive game plan.

Whenever the Polish big men kicked the ball out, it proved fruitless – Poland went 0-for-10 from three-point range in the first three quarters.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s perimeter players attacked Gortat and Lampe on the other end to pull them out of the paint and into uncomfortable defensive positions on the outside.

Suns’ Kravtsov plays key role in Ukraine’s victory

Slava Kravtsov played just 22 minutes for Ukraine, but one defensive play set up the game-winning points scored by American-slash-Ukrainian Pooh Jeter. The newly-acquired Suns center chased down Sam Van Rossom and blocked his layup attempt to prevent Belgium from adding to a 57-55 advantage with about 40 seconds to play, which then allowed Jeter to score a three-point play, the go-ahead bucket for a 58-57 win.

Kravtsov only went 1-of-6 from the floor, but his block and single made shot — a dunk — showed that he has a little more explosiveness than he might be given credit for. He had three turnovers as well, but also grabbed five rebounds and blocked four shots for Mike Fratello’s squad.

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Goran Dragic · Marcin Gortat

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott // Sep 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t know if Kravtsov has enough talent to stick with the Suns, but it would be nice if he surprised to the upside.

    Unless I’m forgetting someone, the Suns haven’t had an aggressive athletic big man since Amare.

  • 2 Sillmarillion // Sep 5, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Thanks for this EURO review, I was hoping that the VotS-staff would do something like that :) !
    I was surprised to see such a low performance by Dragic as he was much better in the pre-EURO games. Maybe he was just a little too nervous playing in front of his home crowd. And they won, so I’m sure it will get better from now on.
    Gortat had a good game, but Poland has no sharp shooters, so when they doubled (or sometimes even trippled) Gortat there was no scoring threat left on the floor.
    Kravtsov had a block vs a guy who is like half a meter smaller than him, otherwise he looked pretty clumsy. Also if he plays only 20 minutes on this national team it’s doubtful that he has the potential for the NBA.

    Generally it was sad to see how little people came into the arenas to watch these games :( Some of them were really nice to watch!

  • 3 Sillmarillion // Sep 5, 2013 at 7:00 am

    And today there is an amazing match, Slovenia vs Spain aka Dragic vs Rubio. This is gonna be fun to watch and we will see how Dragic can handle Rubio.

  • 4 Chief Kickingstallionsims // Sep 5, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Actually, it’s Dragic vs a rotation of four guards, who either are or were starting in the NBA, so it’s gonna be quite a challenge….

  • 5 Sillmarillion // Sep 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Yea, that’s true. Gonna be fun to watch.
    Kravtsov had a nice game vs Isreal today. 15 points and 8 boards in 22 minutes!

  • 6 Scott // Sep 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

    ^^ Very nice! :)

  • 7 BCrayZ // Sep 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Perhaps Scott has forgotten Warrick, who was very aggressive with the ball. Very easy to forget him, as his “D” was so poor that when he would play, like last year with Beasley, the Suns would lose.

    Gogi stepped it up in the next (Spain) game.

    Even better news is a healthy Channing Frye.

    They are the only two left from 2010′s “killer bench unit.” MUST reunite that killer bench unit. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

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