Again, Kris Santiago, who is in Athens right now, gives us some live impressions, including Roko Ukic and Chris Kaman:
- Korea was close to upsetting Canada in the first game of the day. Samuel Dalembert decided not to play after an argument with Coach Rautins the day before, and Canada struggled mightily against the fresh Koreans, who controlled the second quarter although they had to play without giant Ha Seung Jin, sidelined due to a nagging knee injury (He could barely walk the other day, so no surprise here). Chun Jungkyu led the Koreans with 19 points, but the North Americans bounced back in the third and had their best in veteran Rowan Barrett, who was a steadily scorer for the Canadians ever since. With the support of Carl English, who netted 12 points but looked far from impressive, Canada managed to overcome Korea by two points (79-77) in the final seconds of the game to book their tickets to round two.
- In the second game of the day, Croatia had to rally from a 12-point deficit in the first quarter and kept on scoring until halftime without looking too flashy (Arroyo tried his best to repeat yesterday’s fancy performance but failed to make his teammates better, although he was constantly hitting his shots).
- Toronto’s Ukic made his first game in replacing Zoran Planinic, who was sidelined due to an infection, and Marko Banic was inserted with Damir Markota out of the tournament due to a knee injury sustained against Cameroon’s Boumtje-Boumtje.
- Both, Ukic and Banic were instrumental in Croatia’s 95-81 win, as Puerto Rico could not convert the important shots during the third quarter.
- Malaga’s Daniel Santiago was again a no-show for the Boriquas and J.J. Barea is far from his best days, while Marko Tomas had another strong outing for the Croatians (15 points) with Prkacin (Who was continually complaining about the calls) also in the mix with another 12.
- Puerto Rico would have lost by 20, but Coach Cintron brought in Rivera, Camacho and Mojica, who showed the willingness to outplay the starting five.
- Croatia now faces Canada, while Slovenia takes on Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals.
- Germany’s Chris Kaman started well into the game and scored on several occasions. New Zealand’s Pero Cameron converts his threes like always, and the Kiwis are leading by four so far. The gym is filling up with Greek supporters right now.
- Germany crushed New Zealand in the second half thanks to Dirk Nowitzki, who executed well from mid- and long-range for 35 points, while Chris Kaman had a breakout game with 20 points for Germany in showing why he’s one of the better players currently playing in the NBA.
- Frankfurt’s Pascal Roller was very active but his shot wasn’t doing it for him (4 of 10 FG); I still see him in front of Steffen Hamann right now. Kirk Penney slowed down a little bit in the third quarter, but he came right back in the beginning of the fourth and chipped in a total of 29 points. The Greek fans invaded the stands (Where Nowitzki’s personal coach Holger Geschwindner was sitting, too) to witness a 89-71 win for Germany in the end, and a possible opponent to Greece if they lose against Brazil today.
- The OAKA is finally looking packed, and I am looking forward to covering the game for you guys as well…
- Big game right here at OAKA, the gym is PACKED, and it’s 18-17 in favor of Greece thanks to Spanoulis, who scored eight points in the first quarter while Splitter and Garcia are leading Brazil with seven and six points, respectively. Marcelinho Huertas is displaying great ball-handling skills while Tiago Splitter had a marvelous block against Tsartsaris and is staying cool under the boards to finish his hook shots in style.
- The best game so far at OAKA, Greece could not profit from three consecutive offensive rebounds, but Papaloukas brought the crowd to their feet when he threw an alley-oop pass to Fotsis, who dunked it for a 22-19 lead. Sofokles enters the game and earns a standing ovation from the fans. Spanoulis sends Huertas to the ground after pulling down a rebound, but receives no call … Huertas comments with harsh words.
- Marcelinho Machado misses his third three and is not really letting the ball rotate in the air. Greece is now up by eleven points and starts to control the game, while Brazil turns the ball over a few times to give Greece the edge. By the way, Araujo entered the game: He’s supposed to be out with food poisoning … he should have eaten a gyros pita on the street instead of taking his meals in a cheap hotel…
- No chance for Brazil. Greece made it look easy, thanks to the duo of Papaloukas and Fotsis, while they forced Brazil to turn the ball over a couple of times. Huertas has four fouls and can’t help that much on defense while Splitter is having a hard time in the post but steadily scores to keep the deficit at 16 points. The rest of Team Brazil is currently vacationing on the beaches of Athens.
- Fotsis made a spectacular play by tip-dunking a missed shot, while Diamantidis netted a three at the right moment to keep the South Americans within striking distance.
- 68-55 to start the fourth quarter. Zisis is excelling as well and hits a mid-range shot from the left side. Brazil is still not beaten, although I doubt that they can manage to reduce the 15-point difference.
- Greece kept their fast pace and destroyed Brazil in the fourth quarter to win the game, 89-69. Tsartsaris received another block from Splitter but had also a beautiful dunk thanks to a Diamantidis pass into the zone. Alex Garcia scored late on a tip-dunk and screamed out all of his frustration. Even with the second team on the court, Greece dominates against the disappointed Brazilians who now must take on Germany in the quarters.
- Fotsis leads Greece with 18, Spanoulis adds another 14, while Bouroussis and Zisis clinched 10 points for the winning side. Brazil had Tiago with 15 and Tavernari with 14, while JP Batista remained on the bench in the last quarter with 13 points to his credit.
- Greece is going to have a match against the Kiwis right after Germany-Brazil at around 2.30pm Berlin time.
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