Eurobasket 2013: Goran Dragic and Slovenia shock Spain

Goran Dragic scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and led Slovenia in every major statistical category with 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists as his team shocked Eurobasket favorite Spain, 78-69, on Thursday.

In the front end of the fourth, Dragic hit a long two-pointer, found a teammate for a three-pointer, scored a fastbreak layup over Marc Gasol and finished off a three-point play. The end result was a 63-61 lead for Slovenia with six minutes to play in the game.

Dragic’s dunk with less than two minutes left gave the Slovenians a 72-68 advantage, their biggest lead of the game. He scored two more baskets in the lane as he continued his attack that sealed Slovenia’s win in front of its home crowd.

Held out for a good deal of the first half, Dragic played in control and sought out his teammates for most of the game. Occasionally, he displayed his spotty step-back jumper and struggled to hit those shots — but down the stretch, he attacked the paint, used his speed and took what Spain’s defense gave him.

By all means, it was an upset. Spain was faster, bigger and more athletic than Slovenia, yet the homecourt proved advantageous. Slovenia hit big shot after big shot and kept up with an NBA-laden roster before Dragic began asserting himself offensively down the stretch.

Poland gets sunk in final seconds against Czechs

A day after Goran Dragic and Slovenia held off the Czech Republic, it was Marcin Gortat and Poland’s turn. Like Wednesday, the game came down to free throws but instead, Poland was at the losing end despite controlling most of the game.

With four seconds left, Lubos Barton drilled a corner three-pointer off an inbounds pass for the Czechs after Gortat and Maciej Lampe each went 1-for-2 on free throws in the final minutes. The shot gave the Czech Republic a 69-68 victory and dropped Poland to 0-2.

Gortat finished with five points, nine rebounds, three blocks and four assists. By far, he had the best plus-minus of plus-15 and passed very well out of double teams. To no fault of Gortat’s own, it appears that Poland simply doesn’t have the perimeter threats to help he and Lampe on either end of the floor.

Kravtsov shows well against Israel

People might believe Slava Kravtsov was simply a throw-in to the Caron Butler deal that saved Phoenix a bit of money — maybe it’s true. Yet, he’s showing in FIBA play that he’s the least-talked-about, most-intriguing of the new Suns. On Thursday, he scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Ukraine dropped Israel 74-67.

Kravtsov played within himself and hit 6-of-8 shots. His fluidity for a big man is impressive thus far, and it’s not completely out of the question that he could have a role this year, especially if we’re talking about an impending trade of Gortat.

  • Scott

    As I’ve said before, my impression from scouting is that Kravtsov may have sufficient lateral quickness to defend at PF, making him more versatile than just a C.

    Miles Plumlee, on the other hand, is credited with being laterally slow, like his brother Mason.

  • Foreveris2long

    Kev, good insight into Suns performance in Euro games. Thanks

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    I enjoy reading these Eurobasket articles. Thumbs up for Dragic and Slovenia, Kravtsov also showed a good game. We will see whether it was a one-timer.
    Good defensive effort by Gortat, poor shooting though. Too bad Poland has no perimeter players (or no good players besides Lampe and Gortat at all…)

  • hawki

    RudeCorona….I know you were at that game & you guys must’ve been partying like there was no tomorrow.

    Congrats on win over Espana

    Nice to see Goran come up Big in a Big game.

    I can’t help it….I’m becoming a Kravtsov fan.

  • Gorazd

    What a game last night, when Dragic brothers destroyed Gasol and Co.! They dispayed attractive dunks, steals, assists and 3-pointers at the cluch! Simply unstoppable. Hope Goran takes this form with him when the season starts…

  • Scott

    A follow-up on the Butler trade:

    Caron Butler’s introduction as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday at Racine Park High School was a press conference wrapped in a family reunion inside a high school pep rally.

    Butler, 33, warned those gathered in the fieldhouse where he played for a year that there might be some water works to go with his words.

    He made good on his prediction.

    “I’m a little emotional definitely,” Butler said. “Y’all see me crying at press conferences and at other things all the time – draft night – but it’s a different emotion now because this is a dream come true. This is something that I always dreamed about, thought about. I never thought it would happen. So it’s special. Thank you.”

    The enthusiastic audience of Park high school students and staff in attendance applauded Butler’s heartfelt comments, like this one, when some words quivered and he teared up.

  • Serek

    And in the meantime Gortat and the Polish team got tentacle raped by Spain, 89-53. The biggest lead was 48.

  • Scott

    ^^ It sounds like Gortat is getting mentally and emotionally prepared for the coming season. ;)

  • Scott

    There’s a story about McD on the Boston Globe. I suppose the main takeaway from it is the following quote:

    “One of the exciting parts about the job with the draft-pick situation, with the salary-cap situation and the market, being an attractive destination, I can see a pretty clear path to get the team to the level that fans are used to in a couple of years, without having to try to rebuild forever.”

  • Foreveris2long

    If Houston stumbles a little due to suspect play by Lin, I could see them making a play for Dragic if they could sucker someone other than the Suns to take Lin’s contract. I think Houston’s Morey probably misses Blanks more than any team in the league especially with the rumor Blanks was considering trading a 1st round pick for Marcus Morris.

  • Scott

    ^^ Probably all the other GMs miss Blanks. If nothing else, he made them look real good.

  • Foreveris2long

    Although the Suns have been apparently been voted the most unwatchable team in the upcoming season due to a dysfunctional roster, I cannot wait to see them. First and foremost I am excited to see if Len, Bledsoe and Goodwin evolve as players with quality minutes. I am also looking forward to seeing the recent Euro forward we got from the Bucks as well as Plumlee. If either one of those guys gives us something and or Green shows he can ball in an uptempo game, that will be a huge Suns bonus. Watching for wins and losses will be immaterial this season.

  • Ty-Sun

    I read that USA Today article too and I could only think that it applied to non-Suns fans. This team won’t get a lot of wins but this is a new beginning for Suns fans.

    How well will Dragic and Bledsoe mesh? Will Bledsoe have a breakout season on a new team that’s actually counting on him to be more than CP3′s stand-in? Was Len worth the #5 pick in the draft and can he become the Suns’ center of the future? Will Goodwin become the steal of the last draft? Will Horny be the coach that the Suns need to rebuild? Will the Morris twins live up to their potential? Real fans will be looking more at the progression of the team and individual players than the wins and losses.

    Lots and lots of interesting things to watch and watch for for Suns fans… and not just on the court.

    I’m sure McD will be wheeling and dealing until the end of the trade deadline to try for the best deal possible for Gortat. Whether you like Gortat or not, it’s obvious that he doesn’t fit in with the rebuilding plans and will either be traded or just let go as a FA at the end of the season because it would be too expensive to keep him.

    As a fan, I’m excited about this season although I’m not expecting a lot of W’s.

  • Scott

    The Suns will be predicted to be unwatchable till they can prove otherwise.

    I’m definitely looking forward to the game and seeing how it all turns out.

    There’s a lot of plot lines in this story for the Suns.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    Yesterday there was a very interesting match at the Eurobasket when Poland played vs Slovenia. I thought maybe you’ll bring an article about it. After all two key Suns played vs eachother yesterday night.
    Poland won (and it was the only game they won during the tournament) and Gortat had an awesome game. 19 points, 12 boards, amazing dunks, an assist, a block and a steal. He looked really smooth and for sure he doesn’t feel his injury anymore.
    Dragic on the other hand was really bad which made me wonder quite a bit. He had no assist in this game, he looked slow and played without passion. Maybe he was tired (the teams play 5 games in 6 days).
    Did anyone of you guys watch the game?

  • Scott

    I did not watch the game, but I understand Gortat was not neutralized with double teams, so he was able to break out.

    If he’s playing for the Suns this season, and if the Suns can spread the floor, they could get good production out of him.

    As for Dragic, he was probably under instructions to stay sharp but avoid over-exertion or injury so he’d be good for the next round of play.