Posts Tagged ‘Serbia’


After 11 days of competition, the World Cup should be getting tougher, and the great should be known from the good. Blowouts shouldn’t be expected, but underdogs overcoming the odds can happen anytime as we saw in Day 12.

In the first game of the quarterfinals, defending champs Spain played Serbia in a hard fought game that was decided on a near buzzer beater. Serbia came out strong early in the game, riding the hot hands of Nemanja Bjelica and Novica Velickovic – 21 points combined in the first quarter – to take a 27-23 lead at the end of the first. The second quarter played out as the first as Serbia increased its lead to 8 by halftime with the help of Marko Keselj off the bench. Spain started coming back slowly into the game with the help Juan Carlos Navarro (27 points) in the second half, and cut the lead to a mere three points by the end of 3 quarters. Yet the final quarter was the craziest, with Serbia jumping to an 8 point lead with four minutes remaining. Yet Spain wouldn’t die that easily, tying the game with 25 seconds behind Marc Gasol’s basket. Yet the Serbians, leading throughout the game, wanted to take revenge from the Spainards after losing to them in the Euro Basket final last year, and with 3.1 seconds left on the clock, Milos Teodosic knocked down a far straightaway three pointer, to win the game for Serbia 92-89 and shock the world with the win by knocking out the world champs and returning to the semis for the first time since 2002.  Velickovic and Keselj led a balanced effort for Serbia with 17 points apiece as Teodosic had 12.

Not as exciting as the earlier game, Turkey punched Slovenia hard in the stomach as the hosts ran over everywhere from trailing early in the first to take a 13 point lead by the end of the first quarter. It was a cruise from there, with Turkey never letting its foot off the gas, to win the game by 27 points, 95-68 to advance to the semi finals to play Serbia. This is Turkey’s third time in the basketball World Cup, and this will be its first time playing in the medal games, and what better way to have a first other than playing in front of your own crowd. Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points for the Turks while Bostjan Nachbar had 16 for the Slovenians.


As the Round of 16 begins, so do the importance of games. Every game now is a do-or-die for every team, and the best is expected to be brought out from every team.

The first day of the knockout stage was as exciting and tempting as it could get, with Sebia and Croatia tipping it off in a classic rival match. It is the first time both teams play each other in a basketball competition, as the Balkan neighbours fought a war in the early 1990s, and it was one of the best played games so far in the World Cup. Croatia came out strong, leading by 8 points at the end of the first quarter despite the Serbians making 8 of their first 11 shots. Serbia managed to cut the lead to 2 by halftime, and traded the lead 11 times with their neighbours, and eventually came on top by 4 by the end of three quarters. The last quarter started all Serbia, and the Serbians had an 8 point lead, 65-57, with 3 minutes to go, then Croatian guard Marko Popovic attempted to pull a Michael Jordan, impressively bringing the Croatians back into the game, scoring 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, and managed to tie the score at 72. Aleksander Rasic was fouled and made 1 free throw and missed the second, making it difficult for Popovic and Croatia to win. Nenad Krstic led Serbia with 16 points, and Rasic had 5 points in the last 21 seconds as well.

In another rematch of the last World Cup final, Spain and Greece played the main event for the night, in an attempt to make it as great as its predecessor earlier in the day. Spain have beaten Greece in several occasions, including recently  last year in the EuroBasket semis. Spain and Greece kept on exchanging leads at certain points of the game, until the Spanish, with the help of Juan Carlos Navarro, 22 points, and Rudy Fernandez, 14 points (12 in the second half), broke away in the 4th quarter, winning 80-72 to set up a clash with Serbia in the quarters. Dmitrios Dimantidis, who retired internationally after the game, had 16 points and crucial blocks and steals, and Nikolaos Zisis had 16 points as well.


The second day of the basketball’s version of the World Cup continued with all teams playing, as Argentina, Brazil, France, Greece, Lithuania, Turkey, and the USA are perfect while Canada, Iran, Ivory Coast, Jordan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Tunisia are still searching for their first wins.

After outplaying Canada in their first game, Lebanon played France, who delivered an upset to the defending champs Spain a day before. The game was very close at the beginning, with both teams being uable to take control of the first quarter as it ended 22-20 for France. The second quarter was a completely different story, as France jumped on a 12-2 run before the game had to be stopped at the middle of that quarter in order to fix the basket that France’s Nicholas Batum dunked on. After more than 15 minutes of hiatus, the game resumed and Lebanon was held to only 8 points in that quarter, giving France a 42-28 lead at halftime. Jackson Vroman’s efforts in the third quarter weren’t enough to bring Lebanon closer as France’s bigs throughout the game dominated the boards and the inside game, frustrating the Lebanese, in addition to several referee errors that costed Lebanon important breaks to get back into the game, giving France an 86-59 win as both teams will have a bye day and will not play until Tuesday. Jackson Vroman had 19 points for Lebanon, with Matt Freije scoring 9 of his 11 points in the first 5:32 minutes, and Fadi El Khatib’s scoring production going down from the first game to 12 points. Meanwhile, France’s scoring was equally spread among its players, as Mickael Gelabale continued his great start in the tournament, leading France with 18 points, helped by Alain Koffi’s 17, Ian Mahimni’s 14 points and and 9 rebounds and Nando de Colo’s 14 points.

USA continued its strong start as a contender for the title, by defeating Slovenia 99-77 after having another great start for the game and managing to stay in control for the entire game. Yet the game’s score shouldn’t fool the audience, as the Americans believe that they aren’t fully ready yet. When star Kevin Durant was pulled out of the game in the 2nd quarter, the Slovenians managed to climb back in the game until he was reinserted later on. In 22 minutes only, Durant led his team with 22 points, and was helped with Rudy Gay’s 16 points and Kevin Love’s 10 points and 11 rebounds in 13 minutes. Bostjan Nachbar had 13 for Slovenia.

The longest game to yet take place in this World Cup was a double overtime game between Serbia and Germany, where the Germans managed to win their first game, as they are missing Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, 82-81. Germany seemed to be on top for most of the game and even at the end, yet Serbia’s Aleksander Radic knocked down two three pointers in the final seconds to tie the game at 69 and enter OT #1. The first OT was really sloppy and defensive on both sides, as German guard Steffen Hamann scored Germany’s 4 points at the beginning, only to be tied by a 3 pointer and free throw with a minute left, to enter second OT tied at 73. The second overtime was a completely different story for the Germans, who managed to get a good lead and hung on till the final possesion for the first win. Jan-Hendrik Jagla had 22 points for Germany, while Kosta Perovic had 2o for Serbia.

Other results:

Jordan 65 – 79 Angola

Argentina 74 – 72 Australia

Croatia 75 – Iran 54

Brazil 80 – 65 Iran

China 83 – 73 Ivory Coast

Puerto Rico 80 – 83 Greece

Turkey 65 – 56 Russia

Lithuania 70 – 68 Canada

Spain 101 – New Zealand 84