George Rowland was in the Copper Box on Wednesday night to find out what the players and coaches made of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 80-67 win over Team GB. First the reaction from the visitors.
Nemanja Mitrovic (Guard/Forward-Bosnia & Herzegovina): I think we played well and accomplished our goal was here, get an important road win to start the qualification round. But we lost a little bit of concentration in the second half and we almost let it slip so we have to tighten up some of those things that we didn’t do well in the second half and prepare for these two games coming up that we have at home when Great Britain and Iceland come to us so we can get those two important wins.
Coach Dusko Ivanovic (Head Coach- Bosnia & Herzegovina-Translated by Nemanja Mitrovic): I think we got an important win tonight, with the importance that we win the next two games at home then it will really have a lot of meaning. We had some moments where we played well and controlled the game, but we also had some moments where we had an unexplained lapse, which we did not want. Part of it is due to a lapse in concentration, and the other part was the players of Great Britain playing well and putting in a great effort, playing aggressively and coming pretty close to coming back into the game.
Asked about Nemanja Gordic and his ability to run the team as a playmaker: I think Nemanja played a solid game, there were times when he controlled the game but there were also moments where he lost concentration offensively and defensively. It was fortunate that Muhamed Pasalic came after the start of training camp to help the team with that position. But in my opinion and by my standards Nemanja did not have a good enough a game and he needs to play much, much better.
Coach Joe Prunty (Head Coach – Great Britain): There were stretches where they did some really good things and shorter stretches where we did some good things. We did a nice job of cutting their lead to seven in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately on an out of bounds play right in front of our bench we gave up too easy of a layup, when you’re making runs like that you can’t give up those plays. Bosnia & Herzegovina deserve a lot of credit, when people look at the box score they will see Mirza Teletovic’s line and think it was all him but the reality was that it wasn’t, they had six players score close to double digits. I thought they did a very good job of executing some things and we needed to do a better job of stopping those, our defence needs to improve. I thought Nemanja Gordic did a great job of running their team, and on the other end we were too scrambled at times and that’s where the stretches took over for them. When we got more aggressive we were better.
Asked about the team’s execution of things prepared for in training camp: At the end of the day we need to play for longer stretches, in both games we’ve had really rough starts that have put us behind the 8 ball. We were down 22-10 to Iceland and battled back to be up 6. Tonight was the same thing, we were fighting and scrapping, we had to deal with injuries to Dan Clark and Myles Hesson (who did not return). I like the fight, but we need that fight to be there for the entire forty minutes, we can’t let ourselves get down by double digits in the first place.
Asked about the impact of Ben Mockford: Ben Mockford was really good for us, especially his scrappiness, for lack of a better word. We’ve spoken to Ben about what his responsibility and role is for the team and I thought he did a great job today. Again when you look at it his stat line doesn’t tell you everything, he had a great +/- (+10) which is a great statistic, but his shooting (1/3) doesn’t look that great and doesn’t necessarily reflect his impact. The bottom line is his grittiness and his fight is what we need to be about.
Asked whether he expected Iceland to play such a short rotation, and then if the small ball line-up was tough to prepare for and if that contributed to the slow start: I was not surprised to see their 6-man rotation, going into the game we had watched film on them and there were some other guys who we knew were possibilities to be on the floor. We have to be prepared for all guys, if you refer to the previous question, the may not have been prepared or expecting Ben Mockford to play the way he did, yet he came in and impacted the game. We knew who their key components were and we just have to be ready for the flow of the game. Our 8 guys have to match their 6. I wouldn’t put our loss on their line-ups, especially as we were playing back-to-back games, we can’t say we were going in there thinking we could do what we wanted. The game is the game, fought right from the jump, we watched a lot of film to prepare for them, we knew who their players were and the guys who would impact the game. Like tonight, we gave up a lay-up that we just can’t give up, it was a side out of bounds play deep in the corner and they get a guy wide open under the rim; the same thing was going on the other night, we gave up too many lay-ups, either off the dribble drive or off cuts. In terms of starts to the games, in both Iceland and this game, we need to find answers.
Asked about the small line-up with shooters that played in the fourth quarter: The biggest thing from the small line-up is how Ben played, that unit played well together, again it was the scrappiness we need to have as a unit. Kyle Johnson offensively did some things well obviously, I think he also rebounded really well and got a lot of deflections defensively as well that impacted the game. If we can play like that group (Van Oostrum, Mockford, Achara, Clark) played with their intensity regardless of who’s in the game, then we’ll be a lot better as a team.
Daniel Clark (Forward/Centre-Great Britain): We were playing catch up for most of the day after a slow start, they bothered us and we only go into the game in the second half and it was too little too late. But we’ve got to motivate ourselves after the good job in the second half, now we have to execute better and do the job for the entire forty minutes.
Asked about what his biggest frustrations from the game were: I don’t think we play to our strengths sometimes. Sometimes we try and play ‘Heroball’. Everyone tries to make certain things happen and we’re not doing what were meant to do, we showed that when we play correctly it does work, so I think that’s one of my biggest frustrations. Otherwise there are a lot of little things, but when we take all these little things together it makes a very big difference.
Asked about how the players can regroup before the game against Iceland and then what he learned about Iceland from the first game: Obviously we would have liked to have won these games that we’ve just played against Iceland and Bosnia & Herzegovina, but we’ve got to try and forget about the losses, we can’t change the result, it’s the past. All we have to do now is just focus on the next game against Iceland and prepare ourselves for that as they will be preparing for us. It’s just about forgetting it and clearing out those small things we’ve been doing wrong and working on the things we’ve been doing right. If we dwell on losses in a competition it won’t help anyone. As coach said our start in the last game wasn’t good enough, we were playing catch up which takes a lot out of you and means you have to and you have to put I a lot more of your game plan than you would like to. It’s all about the start for us at the moment, making sure we get off to a good start and don’t lapse like in these two games.
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