While the Dragon was not the decisive factor in the game, his Dragonshake got the crowd going and helped Slovenia edge over the current second-best team in Europe (minus Jonas Valanciunas, but we'll gloss over that)

Summary

Starting the game, there was little between the two teams. both defenses were focused and shots on both sides clanged off the rim. But with a few made threes, Slovenia got it's first sizable lead with 16:10 about 8 minutes into the second period. The lead could have been higher since Lithuania was really off in their attempts but so was Slovenia. After the first period the score was 16:13, Goran Dragic was, I am sorry to say a non-factor, guarded closely and not able to make an impact and he only scored two points in the period to complement his two personal fouls.

Second period pretty much resembled the first, Slovenia holding on to a small lead throughout, extending it to 7 points with a little over 3 minutes left to play in the half. A few missed shots aside and a great block by Uroš Slokar on Lithuania's main offensive weapon, Mantas Kalnietis, just served to help them keep the lead at 7 going into the break. It was 42:35: and our Dragon's flame did seem a bit damp (no wonder, the weather here is almost monsoon-like).

Lithuania got going early into the third period, but not before Gogi faked the socks of a Donatas Montiejunas. A Dragonshake to behold, and you can see how rare a move like that is in Europe by the collective gasp of the crowd. Teams were trading buckets, but this was still a defensive effort first and foremost. 8 unanswered points by Lithuania later, Zdovc was forced to call a time-out, which resulted in an immediate made three to stop the bleeding. Slovenia held on to lead 54:53 going into the fourth quarter.

Lithuania scored first in the fourth, but Slovenia rallied and answered with an 7-point run. Time-out called by the Lithuianian coach was followed by a made three by Domen Lorbek to push the score to 64:57. The game was give-and-go form then on, teams trading buckets (two step-backs by Gogi included) and getting quite physical in a few cases, I guess nobody told the player it was supposed to be a friendly match, but it never went past a few heated arguments. Lithuania managed to tie the score at 71 with a little over two minutes left in the game on a series of made threes (what else, it's their primary weapon as Jonas Valanciunas did not play). Both teams fumbled their next attack, but with a minute left Jaka Klobucar hit a dagger three that would seal the victory despite the fact that Lithuania had a shot to tie it with a few seconds left. Final score was 74:72 against the reigning European vice-champions minus Valanciunas, but we'll take it.

Summary of the summary

This was the first game without distinct ups and downs from the Slovenian team, the defense worked much better and offensively, everyone was involved, even if we'd have preferred if the Dragon was a bit more involved.

Speak of the devil, Goran finished the game with 10 points on 5/10 shooting that included 0/4 from behind the arc (as kajkejti has correctly stipulated, he was not far enough behind the arc), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and three turnovers in a little over 22 minutes of play which was limited due to early foul trouble.

This was the last home game for Slovenia as today they are scheduled to fly to the Canary Islands for a last warm-up game against team USA. If playing against some of the best the NBA has to offer is not a good last test, I don't know what is. And yeah, we know we don't stand a chance, but how often do the Slovenian fans get to see a match-up like that. I ask you.

It's been a frustrating summer at times.

Today is no less frustrating, even though the news has been expected for weeks now. Kevin Love has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and not the Phoenix Suns.

For months, the Suns have wanted to acquire Kevin Love but they never could put together a package to top all other offers. Neither did the Golden State Warriors for that matter, even IF they had included Klay Thompson after all.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were at the right place at the right time, and for the first time in as long as I can remember they came out ahead in the deal. The Wolves turned a sure thing loser (Kevin Love walking in a year) into the last two #1 overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, and one of the better power forwards in the NBA in Thad Young.

Rarely does a team come out arguably better than they started. The Denver Nuggets did it with Carmelo Anthony a few years ago, but I tend to think this deal is better for the selling team than that one was. Time will tell though.

Where does that leave the Suns?

It leaves the Suns on the side of the road wondering what the hell happened this summer. The Suns came into the summer with big plans to go after the league's best free agents and trade targets.

So far, nothing.

And to their ultimate chagrin, I think, news got out yesterday afternoon that the Suns made a last-ditch effort to try to pry Minny's eyes off their Cavalier booty.

This report stinks to me. Stinks of old news. I could be wrong, but I'd be floored if the day transpired as it was posed on the internets - that the Suns, for the first time all summer, walked into a board room and collectively decided, "Hey maybe Minnesota might want Eric Bledsoe for Love! Let's try that. How much time is left on the Wiggins 3-day clock?"

That's a lot of BS to me.

First of all, the Suns have wanted Love for months. Every single player on the Suns' roster has been discussed, I can assure you. There's no way the Suns ever told Minny that Bledsoe was off the table.

Of course, back then and even now, the Suns cannot "offer" Bledsoe in trade without Bledsoe pre-agreeing to go. The Suns cannot just call someone up and offer Bledsoe to them and work out the details. Bledsoe must agree to go, and he must agree to a new contract before that.

So this report feels wrong to me.

But regardless, the Suns have struck out on the big fish. Struck out big time.

Here's to another 39 days before the preseason and training camp actually start. Let's hope something happens in a positive way to turn this frustrating summer around.

The hottest trend around social media these days is the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. If you aren’t aware of what this new trend is all about then you probably are the least social media savvy...

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The Dragon plays on Slovenian soil again, breathing some defensive fire and making longer 3s.

After almost 11 months Suns Goran Dragic played in front of Slovenian fans again. It was nice to finally see him lead Slovenia team on court as its rightful captain. His first home game, though statistically not as efficient as usual, was still good: 18points on 7/17 shooting, 7 assists and a chase down block you could see coming immediately after the ball changed possession. When the Dragon doesn't produce well on offence, he goes into defense (make-up) mode, which I really have to commend here. His game also included a 14 point 4th quarter, where he got "GO-GI GO-GI" cheers while taking a free throw - which sadly, he missed.

StatlineGDBrazil.0.png

The atmosphere was great, the crowd was cheering from the start and got louder and louder as the game progressed. You have to give credit to the Brazilians. As hard as the fans were rooting for our own, they were booing the Brazil team just as bad. Some of those Splitter free throw misses had to be due to the overwhelming noise. Unfortunately, Brazil still managed to win in overtime, despite Slovenia defeating a 19 point deficit and getting an 8 point lead in the 2nd half. Brazil managed to tie it in the last seconds of regulation. After that they outscored us by 4 and won the game 88:84.

Again Jogi wrote a great recap of the very intense game and for all the number nerds here are the stats.

The only other thing I'll say is; the Slovenian refs weren't giving us any breaks, at some point in the game, even I was shouting rudely at them and I had a lot of support around me. Zoran Dragi? got slapped in the face while getting a rebound and nothing..

Quotes from Klemen Prepeli? (19pt) and coach Jure Zdovc:

Jure Zdovc: First half wasn't so bad, defense was good, we were just turning the ball over to much, we had 8 turnovers, but even that isn't that big of a problem if 6 of those turnovers weren't direct punishments, and that's what really killed us. But I have to emphasise they (Brazil) were really aggressive in the first half, too aggressive. I mean a few of our players were bruised all over. The referees were allowing it. I warned them about it, but they just weren't stoping the aggressiveness in time, we didn't fight back and we payed for it.

Again very bad start to the 3rd quarter, mistakes on defence, turnover at half-court.. I think we simply can't afford that and then we were chasing them for 19 points. I sent young Nikoli? in to push the ball more aggressively. We came to life a little bit, made some hard 3s. But this is all the consequence of good defence, which gave us some certainty. Then, after we hit one 3, I always say 3s are contagious; either no one makes it or everybody starts hitting it. So we got a few lucky shots. And again incomprehensibly, stupidly we handed them the win. again a lot of nonsense, that we just can't afford if we want to win, especially against a good team like Brazil.

Klemen Prepeli? (when asked if they'd need more time to prepare because of all the flaws): Considering Gogi is limited and that Erazem (Lorbek) is not coming, which was a big shock for us... But we still have a lot of quality players and like Jure said "The team wins, not the individual". Agains Lithuania and today agains Brazil we showed some solid minutes and if we apply them to all 40 minutes we can play anyone.

We definitely won't be winning with 3s, we need some depth, which we'll mostly get from Gogi's penetration, but someone else has to step up as well. Gogi hasn't played since april and he needs minutes. I think we're on the right track, we have to get that confidence and play bravely.

It's a shame we lost, but it was still a special game for me, since I somehow luckily got first row tickets for the game, which turned out to really be 2nd row court-side seats. Though the view is better from farther away, it was great seeing the action up close and hearing player "opinions" directed towards the refs. Even heard Gogi sort of curse at one. He had a point and fans were cursing way worse anyway.

Today is the last day of the Telemach tournament and Slovenia will have the chance to repay Lithuania for last week's loss. I fully expect #Junaki to come through and win the cup on home court.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: our poll from last week seems to have some merit :) Here are the results:

poll.0.png

Last thing: I made a few kinda bad quality videos with some Dragon highlights. If any are good enough and anyone is interested, I'll post them when I have the time to sort through them. Or maybe KZS will give us some video and I'll post the link. And I could only get a good photo of Gogi from the back, but at least it's completely fresh :)

The Dragon plays on Slovenian soil again, breathing some defensive fire and making longer 3s.

After almost 11 months Suns Goran Dragic played in front of Slovenian fans again. It was nice to finally see him lead Slovenia team on court as its rightful captain. His first home game, though statistically not as efficient as usual, was still good: 18points on 7/17 shooting, 7 assists and a chase down block you could see coming immediately after the ball changed possession. When the Dragon doesn't produce well on offence, he goes into defense (make-up) mode, which I really have to commend here. His game also included a 14 point 4th quarter, where he got "GO-GI GO-GI" cheers while taking a free throw - which sadly, he missed.

StatlineGDBrazil.0.png

The atmosphere was great, the crowd was cheering from the start and got louder and louder as the game progressed. You have to give credit to the Brazilians. As hard as the fans were rooting for our own, they were booing the Brazil team just as bad. Some of those Splitter free throw misses had to be due to the overwhelming noise. Unfortunately, Brazil still managed to win in overtime, despite Slovenia defeating a 19 point deficit and getting an 8 point lead in the 2nd half. Brazil managed to tie it in the last seconds of regulation. After that they outscored us by 4 and won the game 88:84.

Again Jogi wrote a great recap of the very intense game and for all the number nerds here are the stats.

The only other thing I'll say is; the Slovenian refs weren't giving us any breaks, at some point in the game, even I was shouting rudely at them and I had a lot of support around me. Zoran Dragi? got slapped in the face while getting a rebound and nothing..

Quotes from Klemen Prepeli? (19pt) and coach Jure Zdovc:

Jure Zdovc: First half wasn't so bad, defense was good, we were just turning the ball over to much, we had 8 turnovers, but even that isn't that big of a problem if 6 of those turnovers weren't direct punishments, and that's what really killed us. But I have to emphasise they (Brazil) were really aggressive in the first half, too aggressive. I mean a few of our players were bruised all over. The referees were allowing it. I warned them about it, but they just weren't stoping the aggressiveness in time, we didn't fight back and we payed for it.

Again very bad start to the 3rd quarter, mistakes on defence, turnover at half-court.. I think we simply can't afford that and then we were chasing them for 19 points. I sent young Nikoli? in to push the ball more aggressively. We came to life a little bit, made some hard 3s. But this is all the consequence of good defence, which gave us some certainty. Then, after we hit one 3, I always say 3s are contagious; either no one makes it or everybody starts hitting it. So we got a few lucky shots. And again incomprehensibly, stupidly we handed them the win. again a lot of nonsense, that we just can't afford if we want to win, especially against a good team like Brazil.

Klemen Prepeli? (when asked if they'd need more time to prepare because of all the flaws): Considering Gogi is limited and that Erazem (Lorbek) is not coming, which was a big shock for us... But we still have a lot of quality players and like Jure said "The team wins, not the individual". Agains Lithuania and today agains Brazil we showed some solid minutes and if we apply them to all 40 minutes we can play anyone.

We definitely won't be winning with 3s, we need some depth, which we'll mostly get from Gogi's penetration, but someone else has to step up as well. Gogi hasn't played since april and he needs minutes. I think we're on the right track, we have to get that confidence and play bravely.

It's a shame we lost, but it was still a special game for me, since I somehow luckily got first row tickets for the game, which turned out to really be 2nd row court-side seats. Though the view is better from farther away, it was great seeing the action up close and hearing player "opinions" directed towards the refs. Even heard Gogi sort of curse at one. He had a point and fans were cursing way worse anyway.

Today is the last day of the Telemach tournament and Slovenia will have the chance to repay Lithuania for last week's loss. I fully expect #Junaki to come through and win the cup on home court.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: our poll from last week seems to have some merit :) Here are the results:

poll.0.png

Last thing: I made a few kinda bad quality videos with some Dragon highlights. If any are good enough and anyone is interested, I'll post them when I have the time to sort through them. Or maybe KZS will give us some video and I'll post the link. And I could only get a good photo of Gogi from the back, but at least it's completely fresh :)

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