Goran Dragi? has 14 points, 2 assists and 3 rebounds in 17 minutes of play. Gets plenty of rest for today.
This game yesterday was the worst. Well not so much the game, it was the 3 people who are suppose to make the game fair - referees. This was ridiculous.
Goran Dragic gets called for a foul on one of his famous drives. He protests because it really wasn't one and gets a technical before even getting really mad. After he was called for it you could read his anger from his lips - in Slovenian thankfully. Take note, techs count to your personal fouls total in international play. So our main engine has 2 fouls with 2 and a half minutes gone by. And I'm already screaming "Come on!" at the TV. Poor Tv. And then it was just one stupidly called foul after another. At some point I was genuinely wondering if the refs were bribed by Angola so they could as they said "make history with the win". By halftime we had more than double their fouls.
I thought it would get better in the second half, that the refs would watch some tape, realise their mistake(s) and be more fair. Yeah, no. Slovenia got called for 2 more techs: one for coach Zdovc who couldn't believe the refs were ignoring everything he was saying, and the other for our veteran Jure Balaži? who was literally walking away from the ref when called for a T. At the end of the third the foul stat read 19:10. Of course Angola caught up end of game situation being what it was. Despite all this Slovenia managed to pull through with the Dragon playing only 17 minutes. Productive as always he went 4/6 on 3s getting all his 14 points in the 3rd. I can truly say we earned this win with the final score reading 93:87.
In those final minutes, when the game was still tied and most of Slovenia was probably yelling at Zdovc to "put Gogi back in (for God's sake)", he stuck with the decision to rest the Dragi? brothers. Since we got the win this proved to be a brilliant maneuver. The Dragon (and Zoki) is fresh for today's even more important game and our backup PG Klobu?ar got some rhythm back, since he was clearly a little off in the last 2 games.
Goran Dragi? statements after the game:
Tomorrow will be interesting. We'll see who has what it takes. We could calculate but we didn't. We went for the win (against Angola). We'll se what Australia and Lithuania do. We're gonna give our max and go for the win. We're going for that first place, I didn't even look at the calculations. I know they are there, but I didn't go into them. I was focused on the game, so it doesn't come to any injuries. The important thing is we won and we're healthy.
(Asked weather he was taking his anger out at the refs by making buckets.)
"I had to a bit" he said jokingly. "The refs were a little weird. It was getting a little funny. I won't say anything, so it won't get worse."
Far from Angola being a bad team. You can see they play basketball a bit differently. Maybe they have a few more systems than Korea, but it's still a different type of play. That bothered us somewhat. Offense was good, but defense wasn't right. You could see they had the right energy, and we just weren't ourselves. We struggled the whole game and couldn't crack them. now the game is behind us and the most important thing is we won. Have to move on, an even more important game is up next. We're going for the win, so we can leave for Barcelona in first place.
Slovenia plays their final group game today against Lithuania. Everything depends on the outcome of this game. Which is kinda of unfair since we've been rocking it so hard the last 4 games. The most desirable places are 1st and oddly enough, 3rd. This is because everyone is trying to avoid Team USA for as long as possible. Securing either 1st or 3rd place guarantees you won't meet them until the semifinals, thus still giving teams a chance to go for the bronze.
Slovenia will take first place if they a) win the game or b) lose the game by a max 8 point difference. In the event it loses by 9-13 point, they will take second place. Anything more than that we fall into third. Provided Australia who is more of a favourite wins against Angola today. Theoretically Australia could lose this game purposefully, since that would insure they get third place. As I'm posting they lead by 13 at halftime.
Slovenia vs. Lithuania begins at an American friendly 12.30 Phoenix time.
A mostly Dragonless Slovenian team fought hard in the second half to beat the strong and agile Angola that showcased some great shooting. I will not mention the awful refs, I will not mention the awful refs...damn
A shorter summary this time, I wasn't able to write it while watching the game. Plus, there really isn't that much to talk about.
First period a.k.a. is it game-time already?
Slovenia started really lackadaisical, not really paying attention on defense and moving way to slof on offense. It took two minutes for them to score, predictably with a shot form deep. Goran got an offensive foul in his first real drive (bs call, the opposing player was clearly moving his feet) and got a bit vocal with the refs, earning him a technical foul on the spot. Klobucar immediately replaced him, something he wasn't really ready for and it took some time for him to get warmed up, all the while Angola was pushing hard on D and winning the battle on the boards. There really wasn't anything else worth mentioning, the score was 17 all at the end of the first. Not something we wanted, but not completely unexpected, if we're honest as this team clearly lacks motivation against "lesser" opponents.
Second period a.k.a. Goran Dragic show jr.
Angola scored 8 consecutive points in less then a minute but The Dragon brothers with Domen Lorbek quickly answered right back, Goran with 5 consecutive points, Lorbek with a three to even the score at 25. But Angola was fighting back, taking the lead with some good ball movement and great hustle on the offensive boards. Enter the Dragon, with drives, kicks and shots from deep, he scored 14 in the period, and Slovenia came out on top at 44:43 at the half.
Third period a.k.a. the Ref show
Slovenia started the second half with some good ball movement and finally involving their bigs that were clearly superior in their ball-handling and footwork but there's no jumping over the Angolans, not without some mayor team hustle. The refs (damn, sorry about that, again) were still calling some ticky-tack fouls and Zdovc got a technical foul after expressing his opinion in a manner unbecoming a coach. A fe seconds later, another technical foul was given to Balazic just because (who was perfect from behind the line up to that point 3 for 3) and two good attacks later Angola was up by 8. But Slovenia fought back with good hustle on D and afther three periods, Angola was up by a point with 65:66.
Fourth period a.k.a. Ok guys, let's make things right
With Dragic on the bench, Slovenia couldn't get the lead it wanted but Edo Muric brought some energy to the team, fighting on D and hitting a three to push the score to 79:74, Slovenia's biggest lead up to that point. A few minutes later Klemen Prepelic finally hit his first three point shot of the tournament and made it a 10 point game with a little over 3 minutes left in the game. Angola didn't give up, scored two consecutive threes and tried everything to pull off the upset and qualify for the next round, though they were visibly exhausted. Full court pressing didn't do anything other than give Lorbek a few freebie shots from the line, upping his total points to 17, making him the best scorer on the Slovenian team. Final score was 93:87
A must win game, Slovenia remained undefeated and kept the first place in the group. Considering all the other scores in their group today, Slovenia will keep first place after the game against Lithuania with a win or with a loss with less than 8 points, but let's all hope it doesn't get to that, as Lithuania is beatable (shown by Australia, who were themselves beat by Dragon and co.). Plus, winning the group stage, Slovenia avoids team USA until the semifinals, giving them much better chances to actually get a good result.
Goran had early temper/foul trouble, limiting his playing time to only 17 minutes (a blessing in disguise probably) and 14 points (shooting 5/8 including 4/6 form deep) all scored in the second period, and two assists together with three fouls and rebounds as well. One more Dragonsanity tomorrow and then the real fun starts.