Right, so it’s not the most scintillating of games and will probably be irrelevant when the dust settles on EuroBasket Group A play, but we can say one exciting thing about Poland vs. Portugal: One of these two teams is guaranteed to notch their first win in the tournament.
Follow along with BallinEurope’s live blogging (if you dare) below the break. BiE would say “enjoy the game,” but if you’re watching this one, you must be a basketball fanatic or supporter and thus you’ll be assured to.
Pregame. Well, Portugal wins the togetherness battle, with arms around one another while Poland merely stood single file during the national anthem. Plus, these teams must be 1-2 in Group A in tattoos.
The sole other game going on right now: Latvia vs. Italy in Siauliai.
A few Polska fans are here, but BiE can comfortably report that the Lithuanian fans outnumber the Portugal backers … is anyone cheering this team on?
First quarter. 9.23: Inauspicious start: first play result is a travel.
9.06: First points scored by Lukasz Koszarek with a three for Poland. 3-0.
6.17: There’s a reason the entries are so sparse so early here: The teams are a combined 3-of-12 already. Portugal up (for the first time in this EuroBasket?), 5-3.
4.20: Santos hits one. The teams are now a combined 4-of-17. (And it ain’t the defense.) Anybody still think we need 24 teams in this tournament? Portugal up, 7-3.
3.33: Portugal’s Filipe da Silva misses both FTs. Sheesh.
3.00: And Leonczyk ties it up for Poland … at 7.
2.41: Let the bizarre stats begin: Total PFs in the game, 7. Total field goals made, 6. Poland up, 8-7.
2.05: Poor Poland. One of their bona fide studs, Adam Hrycaniuk already — already! — has three fouls. Ugly. Portugal up, 9-8.
0.00: File this under “BiE blogs this so you don’t have to.” After one, it’s 13-10 to Portugal. 8-of-27 combined shooting. Koszarek leads all scorers with a big 5.
Second quarter. 6.49: No, BiE’s not really falling asleep … it’s 17-17 and the best thing that can be said is that the referees are letting everyone play through much contact…
6.07: Wow, Dardan Berisha launches himself over the back of a defender and hits the floor. Good one. Portugal, 18-17.
5.47: Poland finally takes the lead on a Koszarek three. 20-18.
4.26: But a 5-0 run gives the lead back to the “underdogs.” Portugal up, 23-20.
4.17: Miguel Miranda hits for Portugal for a five-point lead, the game’s biggest…25-20.
2.44: Portugal is starting to open things up now! It’s 29-21 and they’re red hot, up to 44% overall shooting.
1.05: Berisha with a nice-looking jumper there … Poland now “up” to 9-of-27 shooting. Portugal up, 34-29.
0.00: And, at the half, it’s Portugal 36, Poland 29. Hello? Anyone? Hellllooooooooo?
Third quarter. This game perhaps illustrates better than any other the havoc wreaked by the NBA lockout/player insurance mess. It’s not that Poland is a bad team per se, but with Marcin Gortat, the side would certainly be a lot more competitive than they’ve shown thus far — even without injured Euroleaguer Maciej Lampe. To think that a viable program is struggling against a Portugal, the last team to qualify for the tournament and reaching these heights by dint of beating mighty Hungary (not even ranked among FIBA’s top 75 men’s programs) twice, is disturbing at best. Talk about torpedoed by business…
Meanwhile, Poland is cruising on a 13-0 run and should put things away before too long. Polska up, 42-36.
0.00: Geez, Portugal suddenly ties things up at the buzzer with a circus three-pointer from Jose Costa. 49-49.
Fourth quarter. 7.50: Now, finally, things get interesting. Teams trading buckets and Poland’s holding a 54-51 lead.
6.37: Costa’s two FTs tie it up again at 56-56.
5.35: Hrycaniuk’s back in the game and establishes himself as Poland’s go-to guy. Miranda is likewise for Portugal and they trade scores. 62-61, Poland.
2.36: Hrycaniuk hits two FTs to make it 73-65. Can we say it’s over yet…?
1.15: Costa again for three … 73-71 and o god, is overtime inevitable?
0.43: Maybe not. Elvis Evora fouls Thomas Kelati … and then Kelati misses 1 of 2. Conspiracy?
0.31: Costa rushes the shot and misses. Can one apply a dagger to his own team? Unfortunate for the almost-hero of this match.
0.17: Kelati may have sealed this with two more FTs. Poland, 76-71.
0.13: Hrycaniuk picks off a badly telegraphed pass from Costa and the free-throw shooting contest has begun.
0.00: Final score, 81-73, after a what-the-hell three from Koszarek at the buzzer. Yaaaay! Polska! Polska! Polska!