Who would’ve thought this game would be significant in the EuroBasket 2011 tournament? Yet, here we are, less than 24 hours after Team Poland’s stunning upset of the big-bodied, NBA-stocked Turkey — not to mention a day after Great Britain’s first-ever major tournament win.
While Britain needs an outrageous 58-point margin of victory today (not to mention a Turkey loss later as well) to advance into the next round of the tourney, Poland merely needs a W. BiE thinks they’re good for it. But don’t take this word for it; follow along with BallinEurope live blogging from Panevezys below the break. Enjoy!
Pregame. Luol Deng is the high-scorer in this tourney, by the way, at 23.8 per game. Tony Parker’s at 23.0, Dirk Nowitzki at 22.8, Andrea Bargnani at 22.0, and Pau Gasol’s at 21.8.
First quarter. Two trips down the floor, no points for either side at first.
8.59: Thomas Kelati puts Poland on the board first. 2-0.
8.41: Joel Freeland answers.
8.05: Deng with the smooth 18-footer puts Britain up, 4-2. That 48-point win may not be forthcoming, but early on, Poland better start concentrating a bit … they could lose here, after all…
7.12: Bad TO by Koszarek, but it comes to nought for Britain, despite the offensive board and reset clock.
6.25: Freeland burns his man again on the easy layup. 8-2, Britain. Time for Poland to wake up, here.
6.02: It may be BiE, but Britain does seem revitalized by that first win.
5.38: Daniel Clark with the rebound and the follow. You know, Poland’s not the biggest team in the world, but they should be outrebounded Britain … Instead, GB’s up in the category, 9-3, including four offensive boards.
4.45: Deng sinks two FTs; Britain up, 12-4, and iti feels like more.
3.58: Finally, Poland sinks something. Kelati on a three. Poland’s just 3-of-9 shooting in the game; incredible from a side that hit 57% last night and has five guys averaging 10 or more in this tournament.
3.10: Kelati has two PFs early, but coach Ales Pipan decides to leave him in the game. Why not? At 2-of-2, he’s the “hot hand” for Poland.
2.55: Mike Lenzly, who fouled out in the Portugal win, gets his first, and now Kelati leaves the floor. Poland has snuck back into the game at 12-10, Britain.
2.15: And Pawel Leonczyk ties it up with a shot just inside the arc.
1.56: Britain answers, but last night’s hero Dardan Berisha draws the PF from Nate Reinking. Poland’s first lead at 15-14.
1.12: Deng at the line again for Britain … even if his guys don’t win, Deng will punish the Poles physically in this one … Britain lead, 16-15.
0.26: Poland almost loses control on the fast break, but Koszarek reins in the errant pass for the score.
0.00: Britain is now up, 18-17. Poland, who surely along with the rest us didn’t figure they’d be playing for anything other than the proverbial pride, will now experience pressure.
Second quarter. The stats say the teams are a combined 1-of-9 on threes, with Kelati’s the sole success. Yikes.
9.33: Nice pass from Archibald outside to Freeland inside for the jam. 20-17, Britain.
9.03: There’s Kelati. He’s the man for Poland, BiE telsl ya. 20-19, Britain.
8.16: Lenzly tries to drive the lane, but Szewcyk’s having none of it. RE-JECTED!
8.00: Nice reverse layup by Berisha. There’s the speed.
7.42: And Lenzly redeems himself with a three. Some good back-and-forth here; both teams shifted gears, it seems. A much faster paced game suddenly.
6.11: Ouch. Kelati tries to face down Lenzly and gets called for a carry. Not good. 27-25, Britain.
5.32: Daniel Clark gets the steal, tries to bring the ball upcourt, proves the old axiom “Big guys can’t ball-handle.” TO!
4.39: Wow, Ogo Adegboye really has a turbo boost. Skibniewski, outmatched and knowing he can’t keep up, fouls … Freeland finishes the possession with an easy two. Britain, 29-25.
3.27: The first really sweet ball movement from Poland produces nothing on the Piotr Pamula miss. Clark answers beating two Poles on the tip-in, gets the and-one. Hits. Britain up, 32-26, the biggest lead since two minutes into the game.
2.48: Ogo is allowed the lane, easily connects. Now 34-26, Britain. What is wrong with Poland? Aside from the fact that they’re getting crushed in the rebound battle at 21-11.
2.19: Wow, Poland, 24-second clock violation. Guess their advancement isn’t a done deal, either…
1.29: Kelati fakes past three Brits and finds Koszarek in the opposite corner for the two. Nice.
1.05: Deng answers with the score underneath and draws the foul. Misses, though. 36-29 to Britain.
0.38: Deng again, now with 12. 39-31 to Britain.
0.00: Poland cannot convert on the last possession and whoa, things don’t look great for the upstarts. 39-31 to Britain.
Third quarter. 8:47: Ah, now Poland is playing with energy. A fastbreak ends in a Koszarek three plus a foul. 42-37, Britain. This will be a key four minutes or so for Poland, BiE thinks.
8.33: Not if Freeland has anything to say about it. 44-37, Britain.
7.53: Deng turns it over on the three-seconds call. But Poland can’t answer as Kelati misses the three and they’re out of position for the rebound. Britain up in boards, 29-12!
7.14: The lesson for Poland, as always: Deng is unstoppable. Now 15 for him. Britain up, 46-37.
6.40: …unless he airballs, that is.
6.23: Nice feed to Szewcyzk, who’s wide open in the lane. 46-41, Poland … and then Kelati drives it in to cut it to three.
5.31: Kelati throws it away and Deng lays it in. 17 for the Bull now.
5.13: Archibald goes down in the lane but is nevertheless called for the foul. Again, Poland is outboarded. Szewczyk loses his cool at the other end and fouls Archibald, who hits 1 of 2. 49-43 to Britain.
4.26: Poland gets the T called their way; Archibald is punished, Szewczyk makes 1 of 2. Poland ball and let’s see if this turns this their way like yesterday … there it is! Hrycaniuk inside, hits, gets the and-one, hits. 49-47 to Britain.
3.29: Deng’s pull-up jumper takes it back to a four-point Britain lead.
3.07: Deng chases down the board. That’s the double-double for him already, with 19 and 10. Britain up, 51-47.
2.36: Guess what, Deng again in the paint. 53-48 to Britain.
2.19: First offensive rebound of the game (!) for Poland turns into a two. 53-50 to Britain.
1.38: Working the ball inside to Koszarek gets the foul call aaaaaand … another T, this one on Lenzly. Poland has gotten more flagrants and technicals called their way in this tournament than anyone. FOUR shots sunk by Koszarek AND Poland ball. This will turn things around. 54-53 to Poland.
0.30: Ooooh! Koszarek with the longball at the 24-second buzzer. Poland up, 56-53. BiE doesn’t want to say the refereeing helps, but…
0.05: Deng sinks two FTs. Now at 23 and 11.
0.00: Foul called at the end of the period on Szewczyk, but Poland remains up 56-55.
Fourth quarter. 9.23: Freeland again outrebounds several Poland players, sends it down. Then Freeland hits the two, gets the foul call.
8.44: Freeland again. Five points in the quarter for him.
8.32: Kelati responds with a three. Britain up, 62-61.
7.45: Deng follows his own miss. 64-61 to Britain.
7.04: Back-and-forth game is back … trading buckets here … but not that time; Hrycaniuk misses and again Poland is out of position for the rebound underneath. Britain now up in that stat, 40-18!
6.25: Now there’s a good board, Hrycaniuk! Snags it, hits the two, hacked by Clark, hits the FT. 69-66, Britain.
5.55: Kelati hits two FTs; Britain up by three.
3.31: Yeesh. On the three-on-one break, Poland throws it away. Poland up, 75-74, but Lenzly to the line on the other end. Hits one, tied up.
3.22: Poland throws it away again!
3.03: Yep, Freeland with the goaltend. 77-75 to Poland. Meanwhile, Israel is being outscored 18-0 in the fourth quarter by Italy…
2.09: Nice alley-oop from Deng to Freeland. These guys are doing it all, with a double-double apiece, plus five assists by Deng. First round MVP…?
1.51: Key possession by Poland and they turn it over. Deng for two more on the other end. Turkey is happy right now … 82-79 to Britain, British ball.
1.04: oh, oh, oh! Freeland with a three from the corner! 85-79 to Britain. Two in a row?
0.37: As my Lithuanian compadre says, “How did Turkey lose to this team?”
0.30: Deng gets one more FT for good measure. 28 for him.
0.00: Well, can we call this normalcy restored, sort of? Suddenly, Turkey has impetus to beat Spain … if anyone can. Of course, with a Turkish loss, Poland still goes through to the next round. Weird. Stay tuned.