Game two in Panevezys pits the 12 Giant Men against the final team to qualify for the big dance, Portugal. Follow along as BallinEurope live blogs another one — click below the break and refresh often.
Well, we’re already into the first quarter (sorry, press conference, filing wire stories, you know), but not too much has gone down. The referees seem much more willing to allow physical play early in this one and Turkey is now adapting to take outside shots — a pair on either side from just inside the arc from Hedo Turkoglu and Kerem Tunceri have made it 6-2 at 3.50 or so. Portugal makes it at 6-4.
3.17: Bait and switch! Omer Asik with the thunderous tomahawk to make it 8-4.
2.48: Enes Kanter and Ender Arslan enter for Turkey.
2.29: Historic moment — Kanter’s first board in official play in about two years.
2.05: And Enes’ first two points.
1.42: Nice three-pointer from Carlos Andrade to make it 12-7, Turkey.
0.00: Early studs of the game for Turkey: Hedo and Enes. Again is BiE impressed early with Kanter, who already has two points, two rebounds and one block in the two-and-a-half minutes of court time. Asik looks like he’s taking it easy — because he can, sort of. 15-9, Turkey leads.
Second quarter. 9.18: We’re gonna have to start tallying Enes’ boards. And Arslan ends the transition with a three. Turkey, 18-9.
8.34: Claudio Fonesca has been the go-to guy for Portugal (relatively). He just drew a foul off-ball, followed by a feed for an easy jumper in the lane. At four points, he’s the high scorer for the underdogs. 16-11, Turkey.
7.58: Suh-weet Dirk-like long jumper by Cenk Akyol! Now 20-11, Turkey.
7.28: Geez, Portugal can’t do much right. After a bad travel, PG Antonio Tavares argues with coach Palma, who turns his back.
7.16: Enes shakes the rim, the floor and probably the stadium foundations with a dunk, then misses the free throw and takes the pass for a made 10-foot jumper. Wow. Turkey, 24-11.
5.07: Hate to sound like a broken record, but Enes, Enes, Enes. In two minutes, he’s added a couple boards and six points, four on big dunks. He’s destroying everyone one-on-one and his pick-setting has improved noticeably. Turkey now 29-15.
3.41: Kanter calls for it two feet from the basket, gets it, goes over his man easily. Two more points. Turkey turning it into a laugher, 33-15.
2.05: Joao Santos’ three to cap a 7-2 Portugal run is enough to induce coach Ene into calling timeout. Still, Turkey’s up 35-22…
0.40: Turkey has just nine PFs and Ilyasova’s got three … how’d that happen?
0.00: And Asik closes things out with a block … fitting. Turkey up by a big 39-27 score.
Third quarter: Believe it or not, it’s Kanter starting things off in the third. 41-27 to Turkey. Meanwhile, Bosnia & Herzegovina is topping Greece, 34-31 in the second quarter — could this be the shocker of the tourney?
2.39: It’s become a bit of a foregone conclusion here in Panevezys, as Turkey gets out to a 56-32 lead. But whoa, Bosnia leads Greece at halftime, 37-33; meanwhile, Tony Parker has 20 points for Team France and their 63-59 lead over Latvia … didn’t BiE say he was the key to Les Blues’ progress?
0.00: Ah, the Turkish fans lining one side of the stadium are quite happy, indeed; the characteristic music is playing and the chanting isn’t stopping … their guys are now up 64-38 and they’re surely salivating for Great Britain tomorrow.
Fourth quarter. Portugal starting to get a bit chippy, as Asik gets hacked and hits the floor hard. That sound you heard was one million Chicago Bulls fans gasping simultaneously. Turkey up, 68-38.
6.11: Ten players have now scored for Turkey and ten have at least one rebound. The only Turk to be shut out of both categories is Oguz Savaz, who’s played four minutes with Asik and Kanter getting so much court time. 69-43 to Turkey right now.
5.31: And Savaz enters the game! Let’s see if he can crack the goose egg…
4.40: Oooh, Savaz drops a potential board and bricks a jumper.
0.00: Okay, that was one big anti-climax, so here are the relevant stats: Kanter ended up with 14 points to go with seven rebounds; Hedo Turkoglu added 14. Leading Portugal was Elvis Evora, with 12 points; Omar Onan went for 10 points, while Ersan Ilyasova contributed six points and eight rebounds. All 12 players scored for Turkey and 11 also contributed at least one rebound, with only Kerem Tunceri boardless.
For Portugal, Elvis Evora contributed a double-double of 12 and 12. Next best was Miguel Miranda with eight, all in the first half.
Next up: Great Britain vs. the home side, Lithuania. Hopefully, that one’ll be a tad more suspenseful, but BiE has doubts…