Like Slovenia did in its final game of EuroBasket’s first round, Goran Dragic and company had done enough to take a cautious approach in the final game of the second. As such, Dragic played just five minutes and scored three points in a 92-76 loss to Finland on Monday.
Dragic was in position to rest because Slovenia had already secured the second seed in Group F. And the rest will be an important factor to save Dragic’s legs heading into a quarterfinal game against France. There, Dragic will unquestionably be forced to counter point guard Tony Parker in one of the more intriguing individual matchups of the event.
Parker is averaging 17.3 points per game but has the second-best shooting percentage of any EuroBasket player in 2013 thus far. He’s hitting 53.2 percent of his shots, just behind Czech Republic forward and Washington Wizards reserve Jan Vesely.
Before Monday’s contest that was meaningless from a standings standpoint, Dragic had one of his best offensive outings in a 73-65 win against Greece. He needed just 26 minutes to score 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor, and that included Dragic shooting 3-of-5 from three-point range.
The second round concluded Monday and ended runs by Finland, Belgium, Latvia and Greece in EuroBasket. Slovenia, Spain, Lithuania, Italy, France, Serbia, Croatia and Ukraine remain and will compete in a tournament-style final round.
Dragic’s new Phoenix Suns teammate, Slava Kravtsov, is also still alive, though Ukraine barely snuck in the tournament round as the final seed from Group E to advance. The big man has continued his limited role but in playing 17.9 minutes per game through eight outings, he’s averaging 1.4 blocks.
Kravtsov’s last two games have also been erratic in terms of his production. He scored eight points but had no rebounds in an 82-75 win against Serbia and grabbed nine boards but went 1-for-4 from the floor in a 70-63 Ukraine loss to Lithuania.
Ukraine will begin the final round against Croatia, the No. 1 seed coming out of Group F.