Two Phoenix Suns squared off today, and only one of them left with a smile on his face.
Hedo Turkoglu's squad laid waste to Goran Dragic's little (by comparison) Slovenians this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Championships.
Fran Frascilla - a long-time coach and now international scout/reporter for ESPN - had some very nice things to say about Hedo and his 7-0 Turkey team.
"On the court, Turkoglu is such a great facilitator of (coach Bogdan) Tanjevic's offense because if you put a smaller guy on him he can post up, he can shoot it, he's a great playmaker, and most importantly, what I've seen tonight, is the team feeds off his confidence. I'm watching these guys' faces, and it's like being in a back-alley street fight with Mr. T on your side. You can see that there's a reverence for him among his teammates that creates great confidence for them as a team."
Not a bad guy to have on our side this year, huh?
About Turkey's home court advantage:
"The one intangible factor they've got going for them is they're playing in front of this incredible home crowd. The energy level of the team is boosted by the fact that these fans, they don't wait for the team to make things happen, they implore them to make things happen. The team is playing off the fans more than the fans are reacting off the team."
Turkey has a good shot to face Team USA in the Finals on Sunday. They will face Serbia (who knocked off Spain earlier) on Saturday. Turkey should win that game.
Goran Dragic did not have a good game. I'm sure Blaz13 can give us better insight than I could. Goran's Slovenian team now gets to fight for the 5th spot in the loser's bracket.
Here is a game recap, with link to the boxscore and such on the fiba.com website.
Both teams, Turkey and Slovenia, will be done end of day Sunday.
After that, Hedo and Goran will likely
celebrate rest before heading overseas to Phoenix and a 9-month NBA preseason, regular season and playoff schedule.
I would not expect either player to show up for voluntary pickup games before camp starts. They've each played about 20 games now since the end of the NBA season.