Giannis and Dorsey give Greece its first victory in Eurobasket
The Milwaukee Bucks player decided the match in the final minutes. Croatia could not complete a comeback from a deficit of up to 19 points.
Greece has scored its first victory in the Eurobasket (85-89) after defeating a Croatia who never gave up. Giannis Antetokounmpo was key in the final minutes to tip the balance in favor of the Greeks. The match is part of Group C.
The team led by Dimitris Itoudis was superior from the start of the match., playing with an inspired Tyler Dorsey (27 points) and a dominant Giannis (27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists).
The naturalized Jaleen Smith (23 points) and Bogdanovic (19), were the most outstanding of the Mulaomerovic team.
Croatia closes ranks against Giannis
The clash began with Croatia closing the area well and not allowing the star of Greece and the Milwaukee Bucks to get close to the basket. Forcing him to shoot from distance, Giannis went 0/2 on 3-pointers in the opening minutes. The Croats looked for an inspired Hezonja to get away on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t enough. Dorsey began to warm up his wrist with nine points in the first ten minutes.
The second quarter began with fouls and interruptions. While the Croats were looking for a slow and leisurely pace, Greece wanted to run with Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo and a Dorsey who was beginning to let loose. With a run of 14-1, the Greeks reached a 19-point lead on the scoreboard. Hezonja did not lose hope with several triples. The game went to the locker room 30-46, with 20 points from Dorsey.
The third quarter was a mix of the first and second. Croatia closed all doors to Giannis, who moved the ball well so that Agravanis and Papapetrou scored from distance. There was an exchange of triples between both teams. The Croats came to be only two points behind. A couple of good baskets from Greece saved themselves from embarrassment.
62-70 marked the score at the beginning of the last quarter. Agravanis took control of the Greeks, scoring from inside and outside. Ivica Zubac, the Los Angeles Clippers center, became strong in the paint. He was intractable on blocks. He would go to the bench in the middle of the fourth due to foul trouble (four).
Croatia comes close
The veteran Krunoslav Simon drew from experience in the final minutes. His were the baskets that brought Croatia to within four points. Jaleen Smith was key to this comeback attempt. He was very comfortable during the match, playing at his own pace. Bogdanovic pulled for the lead.
But then came Giannis. He showed his ability to dominate in both baskets with a block on Zubac, a dunk from behind, a spectacular block on Smith jumping from several meters away and a sensational 2+1 against Hezonja to close the match. When he was needed most, he responded.
Greece thus recorded its first victory in Group C where, presumably, it will compete for first place with Croatia itself and Italy. Estonia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom will fight for a place in the next phase of the Eurobasket.