Slovenia loses to Greece 71:79.

Well, as Goran Dragic predicted yesterday, this game against Greece proved to be a test for the Slovenian team. And though there were some bright moments, Slovenia still lost. They trailed almost the entire game. At on point they were down by 16 but somehow managed to get back within 2. Obviously there is a big difference when Dragi? is on the floor versus when he is resting. It felt like every time he left the Greeks went on a run. If you want more details on the game you should read this recap and if you want more numbers I will leave a link to the stats here.

In case you only care about Dragon stats:

Personally I think a few more fouls could have been called in that 4th quarter. Specifically, on that Edo Muri? drive, where his hand was clearly hurt and he had to leave the game. Tomorrow we have another game, the Dragon will be resting and we will be playing the home team Lithuania, who by the way came in 2nd at last years Eurobasket. They did loose to France by 4 more points so at least we got that going for us. Hopefully in the next 2 weeks Erazem Lorbek returns, Goran Dragi? finds his European 3pt shot (or just takes longer 3s) and everyone starts putting in the same effort/energy as Zoran Dragi?.

Only quotes from Zoki and Coach today:

Zoran Dragi?: We played very badly. Like with New Zealand we started dim, without any real energy, but though we managed to pull through in that first game, this opponent was of considerably higher quality and didn't let us close again. You could see we were missing some height, that's why we need to do a better job of closing the space under the basket and be more alert on defense. Coach Zdovc was rightly upset, because we weren't playing defense. We're aware that this part of the game is very important for us. If we're not firm on defense, it will be hard to win at the World Cup.

Jure Zdovc: For me Greece has long been a favourite for reaching a high place at the world cup. They have a very good team with diverse players, experienced, strong and especially smart. Considering they lost by so much to Lithuania yesterday, I expected they would be well prepared for us and highly motivated. I was interested to see how my players would react to a team like this, but we started the game very badly, dimly and unprofessionally. I used a lot of energy to wake up the players, though that is not my job. I have to be leading the game and not convincing the players to play seriously. This is starting to concern me, since it's always the same individuals. Still, we managed to find a rhythm and get closer, but we played too many bad minutes before to make a turnaround. When Goran Dragi? sits our game drops, but we have to follow instructions from Phoenix and keep to the 25 minute limitation. In the following games we will have to play firmly from the first minute on and control the game as well as the opponent.

*note that though he says they have to follow Suns instructions, Goran played more than 25 minutes, again.

And now, because polls are fun:

Poll
When will the Dragon find his European 3pt shot? (2/11 in last 2 games)

  224 votes | Results

The guys over at Nylon Calculus have been rolling out a bunch of cool features based on NBA player shot charts, and the most recent has been the TeamSPACE series that focuses on the ecology of...

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In this Epic Rap Battles of History spoof (can you actually spoof a... spoof?) Rollin Mason and I duel over the state of the Phoenix Suns offseason moves (or lack thereof). Rollin takes the side of extolling the team's successes while I, with my sunny disposition, rail against the failures. Just like the real ERB this is rated PG-13.

Whether you like them or not most of you have probably seen at least one edition of Epic Rap Battles of History.

The series has over 10 million subscribers on the YouTube channel and has achieved more than 1 billion total views. Each of the videos averages about 30 million views. If you haven't seen one of them I suggest taking a look before proceeding to the rap battle below to help you further enjoy the duel.

The rap battle subject is the Suns offseason. Rollin takes the positive and I take the negative.

The content below is rated PG-13 for mild profanity.

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**EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY!**

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Rollin Mason vs. Jim Coughenour!

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Begin!

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Jim Coughenour:

Just like your name Rollin, the Suns have been laying bricks

With player relations because they're acting like dicks

Channing Frye left with animosity and snark

I'm pretty sure he hopes the Suns get bit by a shark

The Suns must not care much about DUI prevention

Mailing Super X his paychecks while he's stuck on home detention

Seeing that they knew what happened made it quite a shock

When they gave him $16 million to pay for his ignition interlock

There may have been an overestimation with McD

Because this summer he's pulled off as many trades as me

On draft night he just wasn't able to perform

We'll have to ask his new fiance whether that's the norm

There was talk about spending money, there was talk about being bold

Of course that didn't happen, the lip service is getting old

After the empty promises Sarver should expect whiplash

Since his mouth is writing checks that his ass can't cash

The botched contract situation has left Robert instigating

in the media where he has been shamelessly negotiating

The express lane to ruin must be pretty damn frustrating

Just like you feel in this rap battle 'cause I'm fucking regulating

The Suns offseason is a failure, don't even try to defend it

Or I'll repackage this ass whipping I just laid on you and resend it

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Rollin Mason:

Cokedog, stop spewing that smog

It's a sunny day here on the Bright Side blog

With all your bitching I'm begging you please

Take your head out your ass and see the forest for the trees

LeBron James ain't walking through that door

So wipe those tears from your face and pick your lip off the floor

IT gonna drop 3's and bring suckas to their knees

When he smokes them like Beasley in a house made of weed

He'll hit you quick like my rhymes and rock your soul like a power ballad

And he technically was traded (so your 10th line is invalid)

Channing Frye does his thing when he's stretching the floor

But would YOU wanna pay that fool when he's 34?

EB wants that scrilla but he's a stone cold killa

He'll be thrillin' muthafuckas like Ali in Manila

As for Warren, they'll need to start a commission

To investigate how this kid is so bitchin'

Like magic bullets and grassy knolls

This kid is the truth and the truth must be told

I know you got that prime vernacular

But you're gonna need to work on your cardiovascular

To keep up with me, cause I'm a disciple of McD

Planting the seeds for my dynasty

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JC:

Seriously Rollin, is that all you got?

Your rhyming was less coherent than a Plumlee hook shot

And they don't even have anyone to back up Miles

Since last year's number five pick seems to break bones when he smiles

Not even the Kings wanted the Suns new joy and pride

They said to tell him he must be this tall to ride the ride

And now it looks like Bledsoe just might take the one year deal

The Phoenix Suns are less attractive than a roulette wheel

This entire franchise is just going down in flames

You can get a college degree in between Suns playoff games

But you won't need one since I'm already taking you back to school

So pay close attention and learn how to rap duel

They've made it so the fans in Phoenix just don't give a damn

Now I'll finish this shit off with an Al McCoy Shazam!

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RM:

Pass the mic, Jim ... go get yourself a beer

I haven't vomited like that since Vinsanity was here

Get a couple shots too, cause this shit is going on

I'm like a dozen German Shepherds droppin' doobers on your lawn

Better watch your pasty ass when you talkin' about IT

Cause he knows hesitation dribbles, tae kwon do and tai chi

He's the fastest in the West at delivering pizza

And who the fuck did you expect? (don't say Trevor Ariza)

McPimpin' Dat Asset sitting proudly on his throne

Renouncing Satan just like Michael Corleone

Cause it's all in the game when you're building a contender

Gotta take a few steps back to appreciate the splendor

We're itching for that championship, hey man I know how it be

But you sound like Nancy Kerrigan, clutching at her knee

I got that PMA, and I'm blowing up the tracks

And like my man Bob Dylan, I ain't never lookin' back

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Who Won?

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Who's Next?

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You Decide!

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**EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY!**

Poll
Who Won?

  101 votes | Results

Archie Goodwin was one of the youngest players in the NBA last season, playing his rookie season as a 19-year-old kid. He averaged 3.7 points and 10.3 minutes per game in 52 games last year that...

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Greece put on a show how to beat a team that's relying on one player to carry it, even if that player is The Dragon himself.

Today, The Dragon brothers will start the game, I guess Zdovc knows Greece is much better than New Zealand and his plan is pushing the tempo from the start. Oh and a small organisational blunder, while listening to the Greek national anthem, all we could see was Slovenia.

First period

The starting five for Slovenia, as mentioned, includes Goran Dragic, so we're looking forward to an energetic start of the game. Plus, the team had a purely shooting practice today, let's see if it helps. First attack goes to SLO thanks to Zoki, who else. Our game looks better, lots more passes, faster ball movement and help defense is working well which is necessary as SLO is weak in the paint. And Goran has his first two points with a wide open shot from the elbow although he missed his first 3-PT attempt and Greece answers with a 3 of their own and the score 2 minutes in is +3 for Greece at 4:7 as Zdovc calls a time-out.

It obviously worked, some good D but we're still missing on wide open shots, Gogi included, how often do you see him missing two step-back from the paint in one night? He's attacking the paint very well and setting up open shots, but the rest of the team wouldn't hit sand if they fell off a camel (so far). Goran taking control again and finishing at the rim with an eurostep, but he won't be able to do everything himself, especially as he's being guarded like a criminal. 6 minutes in it's +9 for Greece (6:15). A minute later it's +12, after some great ball movement by Greece.

Yaay, some life at last, though we still can't finish at the rim. Where's PJ when you need one... Also Giannis Antetokounmpo makes his first appearance with great dunk after an alley-op. End of first, it's 12:25 for Greece, and SLO is 0/6 from downtown, while GRE is 3/3.

Second period

Some life on defense from the Slovenians, but shots still aren't falling in half-court sets and there's no transition offense, our best weapon. Full-court pressing yielded a mistake by the Antetokounmpo, the NBA first+step is a travelling turnover in Europe. But still, we can't hit a shot or grab a rebound. Here's hoping Gogi can make a difference. 4 minutes in Slovenia is still down by 13 and has no solution against the physical Greeks. First proper transition attack and it's an and-one situation. Hint, hint!

When Goran slashes to the rim, the whole defense collapses on him, enabling a kick to the corner for a 4 point play by our resident Beatle, Klobucar. Down by 9 with 5 minutes left. Some good D again but nothing on O again, Greece is running us out of the gym, basically. Great way to fix it, give the ball to Goran, he runs the floor and finishes through contact. Defense is looking up but 8 minutes in, Slovenia is still down by 8 afret a 3-pt made by Dragon jr., who picks up his first foul. And Gogi misses a wide open three, a really ugly shot, reminiscent of a sophomore NBA Goran. But he makes up for it in the next attack by attacking the switch and finishing at the rim. At the half, it's 30:38, Slovenia shooting 35% from the field while Greece 61%. The most glaring is our 3PT percentage, 2 for 12and Goran has 8 points so far.

Third period

The Dragon brothers start again, but Gogi picks up his first foul. And Slovenians are even mucking about when they get out in transition, not pushing hard to the rim, but we just hit our third 3-point shot! Followed by a great attack by Gogi, finishing through contact over a center. Following a counter-attack finished by Zoran, the score is only +3 for Greece, 37:40, 3 minutes into the second half, forcing a time-out by the Greek coach.

After a fumbled assist, Gogi picks up his second foul and misses another step-back. I'm blaming the wind or the climate, or something. But Zoki is picking up the slack, finishing through contact but then throwing a brick from the 3-point line. A shot by Muric bounces out from inside of the rim and then the Greek center hits a three, whatever man. 6 minutes in it's 42:50, let's hope a time-out helps. Not really, Greece is playing textbook basketball, passing the ball and finding the open man. Slovenia is still mostly just throwing bricks and is down by 12 a minute before the end of third period after a dunk by a Greek player. At the end of third it's 49:59, after a thoroughly uninspired 3 quarters by Slovenia and Spurs-like passing by Greece. Goran is our best player with 10 points.

Fourth period

Goran is still throwing bricks form downtown and our half-court sets look like something from primary school basketball. Greece is flying around the court, hitting everything and the occasional made shot will not be enough to stop the bleeding. 3 minutes in it's 52:66, no real idea on offense, but there's some life on D. After two good shots it's a 9-point game and a time-out to stop the (itty-bitty) momentum by Slovenia.

Zoran makes a great pass to Omic for a dunk after a missed shot by Greece, but it's not enough. Goran is trying to carry the team, forcing a foul in the paint and hitting both free throws and then hist first step-back for his 14th point and it's a 7-point game, but Greece is still running rings around our inside players, most of them look like guards standing next to Greece's bigs. And Antetokounmpo is getting some star treatment, go figure, but his handles leave a lot to be desired.

Again Zoran finishes through contact in transition and hits the free throw, making this a 4-point game, with 1:30 minutes left.  But a wide open long two pushes it back to 6 points. There's hope, but not much as Goran forces a foul and Slovenia misses another wide-open three. You can't write this (welp, I guess you can) as Greece gets an offensive rebound and two points.

Summary

Final score is 71:79, and I'm angry, there was maybe 10 minutes-worth of good basketball on the part of Slovenians while Greece was playing sound fundamental basketball, passing the ball, finding the open man and generally out-playing their opponents. Goran had 14 points (if the stats are correct) and Zoran had 12, but it will take a lot more than that to beat Lithuania tomorrow, especially as Gogi will not be playing.

Stay tuned for the next article with the exact stats and some quotes from the main players.

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