The first group stage of the Eurobasket 2013 finished, and the 12 best teams in Europe made their way to the next round. Lots of drama, blood, sweat and tears marked the end of the first round. Jump in for the recap!
- Great Britain
France stumbled on Germany on opening night, but proceeded to dominate their opposition in the manner expected of the most talented team in the group. Les Bleus had the best offense in the tournament, scoring 80.6 points per game while allowing 68.8 points per game, a group best. Ukraine was the big surprise of the group, getting professional wins against Belgium and Great Britain and gritting it out against Germany and Israel, teams one would expect them to lose to. Much of Ukraine's success came from their PG, Eugene Jeter, who had a field day against ulterior competition at the PG spot in the group (barring of course Tony Parker). Belgium somehow sneaked in, beating their two competitors for the 3rd spot (GB and Germany also finished on a 2-3 record). Israel was an absolute disappointment, only beating Belgium and spectacularly failing to qualify.
- Bosnia and Herzegobina
FYROM were the revelation of the last Eurobasket, upsetting traditional European powers and reaching the quarterfinals. They fell hard this tournament, as an aging lineup couldn't hold their ground against more talented competition (Lithuania) or simply got outhustled (Montenegro, Latvia). Montenegro tried hard but came up short; Nicola Pekovic would definitely have given them some much needed extra oomph. The first four teams all had a record of 3-2, after which point differentials and head-to-head records determined seeding. Serbia, of veteran coach Dusan Ivkovic and Nenad Krstic stood tall (no pun intended) at the end of the day, only losing to teams outside the top 3. Latvia rode a red-hot Rolands Freimanis in the opening games, and a big game from their wings to clinch the win on the last game day. Lithuania's combination of youth and experience managed to get by with no real PG (Mantas Kalnietis is a hero and is playing out of his mind this Eurobasket). Our Donatas Motiejunas played rather sparingly in the group stage and mostly offered spacing, since the Lithuanians avoid post-ups.
- Czech Republic
Opening day featured Croatia getting trashed by title holders Spain, yet the Croatians persevered and came back with a vengeance, avoiding their trademark inconsistency to win their next 4 and claim second place in the group. Slovenia dodged a bullet in their opener against a pesky Czech side and made a statement win against Spain. They seemed poised to finally make a splash after soundly beating Georgia only to lose a close match against Croatia and throw their final game against indifferent Poland. As for Spain, they showed an amazing defensive performance in their following games, allowing 50.3 ppg for the rest of the group stage including a tournament-low 39 points against the Czech Republic.
The group started and ended with upsets. Finland beat Turkey to start the downward spiral of the team with the most NBAers in the group.Turkey only beat Sweden, mostly playing an uninspired brand of basketball. Russia was likewise: after losing their anticipated duels against Italy and Greece the Russians got embarrassed by Sweden (video evidence of Jeffrey Taylor dunking all over Russia can be found here) and only got a consolation win over Turkey in their last game. Greece did their duty against Sweden, soundly beat Turkey and survived an Alexey Shved rally against Russia, only to lose to Italy and Finland in two disappointing games and fall to third place in the group.
According to Eurobasket rules the three best teams out of each group advance to the next stage. The three best teams from groups A and B form a new group; respectively for groups C and D. The teams in the new groups will again play best-of-ones in a round-robin format, but won't play against the teams they have already faced; these results are carried over. The four best teams out of the new groups advance to the quarterfinals.