The first day of the Eurobasket 2013 is over, and but one all players with Rockets interest failed to grab a win at opening night.
Israel faced off against Great Britain, in a game most had the Israelis picking up easily. The guys in white fell back early, but GB perimeter defense was like swiss cheese and a series of layups brought Israel back on top, and comfortably. In the closing quarter however Israel let a 9 point lead evaporate, and then went on to lose in OT. Casspi started and played 38 minutes, but shot an abysmal 1/10 for two (and a way more respectable 2/4 for three). He did get 11 rebounds (4 offensive) and had 2 assists to go with 2 turnovers.
Omer Asik and Turkey (the ghost of Hedo Turkoglu, a point guard no one here knows and a bunch of 4s and 5s) took on Finland, the revelation of last Eurobasket. The Turks started turkey cold (no pun intended) from the field, needing 6:30 minutes to finally score with a free throw, and stubbornly refused to take advantage of their height superiority. Finland played respectable perimeter defense and great team defense whenever the ball got in the paint. Turkoglu missed everything he shot and no Turkish player seemed to know how to shoot threes. On the other side of the ball the Finns shot without conscience behind the 6m75 line (22ish feet) and built a 19-point lead. Turkey finally decided to play ball, going inside and making desperation plays. They got to 5 but then Sasu Salin hit a dagger from 3-point land and the game was over. Asik played a colorless, lifeless game. In 18 minutes he hit 2/2 dunks, grabbed 6 rebounds, blocked a shot and bit on a pump fake, for an efficiency rating of -2.
Donatas Motiejunas played 3:30 glorious minutes in Lithuania's vain struggle against Serbia. Donuts managed to shoot once (and miss) and commit a foul. Lithuania's back court weakness was exposed by the Serbians, who had twice as many competent guards on the perimeter (a total of 2). Nenad Krstic was the catalyst for a young Serbian side, going off for 20 points in 29 minutes along with 9 rebounds and a steal (no TOs).
Kostas Papanikolaou might not belong to the Rockets family for the foreseeable future, but his draft rights belong to them, so here goes: Greece confirmed their favorite role against Sweden. Jeffery Taylor came scorching hot in the game for Sweden but Greece defended well and soon created a big lead they kept until the end. Papanikolaou started for the Greeks but looked like a fish out of the water. In the second half he sobered up, played some good defense and had a spectacular dunk and a chasedown block in a dominating Greece performance.
Are we still talking about Sergio Llull? He played 20 minutes yesterday, and hit 1/3 threes to boot along with a rebound and two FTs for good measure. He wasn't spectacular on a night where his NBA peers stole the show and carried Spain to a blowout win over Croatia (who by the way looked like deer in headlights).
Other notable results of yesterday included a last minute surprise win for Germany over France, a depleted Italy beating an even more depleted Russia side and hosts Slovenia (where the Slovenian Dragon had 8 points, 9 assists and 6 turnovers) eking out a win over the Czech Republic.
Day 2 figures to be more relaxed; the only big match of the day is Russia vs Greece. The other favorites will probably have a quiet evening. If you can, watch Finland vs Sweden - it will be a fun shootout between two fast teams.