After a good first half from Slovenia, USA just ran them over, scoring 119 points in the process of securing their semifinal spot against Lithuania.
Here comes the BOOM (thy name is Dragic-led Slovenia cheered on by around 2500 fans in Barcelona)!
Ok, enough with the pleasantries, on with the game.
Disclaimer: My emotions!
Faried opens the scoring after a manly foul and makes one ft. Lorbek makes great pull up jumper but misses the free throw. And you can clearly hear Slovenian fans cheering them on after a brief lead. A great Dragonshake was eventually blocked but Slokar gets the offensive rebound. But USA is doing one thing and one thing only, getting the ball to Faried. Goran Dragic DUNK, are you kidding me! A made jumper later, we're up 8:4, 3 minutes in and playing well. But we can't keep up with the stronger, more agile Americans and are committing foul after foul. Gogi gets his first foul on Irving, who completes the and one. And just like that we're down 10:13. And USA is getting, on average, 3,5 offensive rebounds per possession, jumping all over our dudes with 15 rebounds to our 7. We're trying run and gun, but it's not really working, USA invented it. But our guys are hanging in there, giving it all and are down by 4 points with 3 minutes left in the first.
Goran is being hounded, he's not even allowed to dribble for a bit, let alone make a undisputed kick-out. Cousins strips Omic and finishes at the other end to make it 15:26. Some good ball movement later, we're only down by 6. Well 8 again, but Curry jut picked up his 3 personal on Prepelic, who makes both freebies. Harden threw a crazy jumper, missed the rim and the ball landed right in Cousins' hands. It's 29:22 at the break, but our main problem are personal fouls by our "bigs".
Good ball movement by Slovenia again but USA is just too much of a handful under the rim, there's just no boxing out against them. Oh and Thompson is hitting every open shot, so that's not helping us. Gogi checks back in and he's still double and triple teamed, but he still makes a nice floater. A couple of turnovers by Blazic later and we're down by 11 again. USA got 15 points off of turnovers, if you're interested. And we got a defensive rebound! Followed by an airball from Gogi. Harden gets his second foul and takes a seat but USA's defense is killing us, coupled with a vicious block by Davis. Zoran makes a strong move to the rim and forces a foul by Davis. But he makes another jumper, of course, and gets a foul on offense, elbowing Zupan in the neck. It's still a 10 point game. But Zupan is not taking the wide open three, why the hell not! Lorbek is playing well but missing free throws, not his m.o. And we're only down by 9!
Here comes the zone defense, a missed shot and Cousins gets his third foul, forcing a time out by coach K and Golica playing in the arena. But we're still not making our free throws and committing fouls like silly people. Zone again but it's broken with an alley-op to Davis. It's clear our "bigs" are technically much better versed but can't hope to compete in the physical aspect of the game. Zoran outruns Harden for a dunk after a steal! And another drive by Harden later a Zoran-Goran pass makes it a 10 point game again, forcing a time out by USA. Zoran makes a three and it's a 7 point game with 30 seconds left and then plays some great D on Harden, running out the clock. So it's 42:49 at the half. Way to go boys! Keep up the defensive effort and take care of the ball and we'll all be happy. Well, the 2 million of us at least.
Good D, Curry breaks Lorbek's ankles but misses the jumper. Goran makes a good move and scores. Another post move by Gogi later but he misses the shot. Zoran plays good D on Harden, forcing an airball and two turnovers later we're down by 11 again. Slovenia is putting up a good fight but USA is ruthless in the open court. Oh and Davies. Zoran blocks Gay, here comes the NBA. Zoran gets his first foul on a questionable call on Harden who missed another shot. He makes his first point on a free throw, somebody was asking about Zoran's defense?
Goran weaves through traffic and gets to the rim on a great move, but Irving answers right back. Goran gets his second foul on Harden who makes the shot , gets another free throw and USA is up by 14 again. Make it 17 after Zoran misses a layup at the rim. Goran answers with a step-back three. A couple of bad passes later and we're down by 18 points after two nice alley-op dunks by Davies and Faried. And it's a 22 point game a minute after Goran left for a breather. And Prepelic is called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Cousins, then Harden makes a three with Zoran out. We're running out of steam or so it seems, our D is lagging behind. After third, USA leads by 22 points, effectively sealing the victory so let's hope for at least some good effort by our guys. 37:22 in this period for USA.
A three by Gay and a turnover later we're down by a lot, Goran picks up his fourth personal, Zupan picks up his fourth as well, it's 93:64, USA is getting wide open shots, no effort on D anymore. The only dude still fighting is Goran though. And we're in run and gun mode obviously, not something we can do better than USA. And if you're thinking my writing is lacking, it's reflecting my team's play. Goran looks beat, and I mean beat, so does the rest of the team. And USA is determined to finish us off, playing hard on every possession, not letting up. The difference is around 30 points with 4 minutes left. It's 111:72 with 3 minutes left, nobody's trying to play defense anymore, just trying to score and yeah, it's working wonderfully.
And the final score is 119:76, we got pummeled with 70 points in the second half and that pretty much tells you everything there is to know. Kajkejti will follow this up with another article with some quotes, when she stops mourning probably and I'm off to join her.
Goran had 13 points, amazing he actually got a shot off with the defense hounding him throughout the whole game.
His short interview after the game: "We simply ran out of energy, you saw their substitutions every two minutes, they were fresh and just ran us ragged so we just kind of fell apart in the third."
About team USA: They are very athletic, grabbing so many offensive rebounds, attacking continuously and playing D for a whole minute is going to exhaust you. We did the best we could, worked hard, left everything on the field, we're happy but we definitely wanted more