For the first game of the Kaunas basketball tournament, Greece failed to impress and lost with their hands down 67-86 against Lithuania.
A number of friendlies all over Europe have been scheduled in preparation for the 2014 Mundobasket held in Spain in late August. Greece has played four already, losing to France, Croatia and Lithuania but beating Serbia.
Lithuania, one of the favorites to win the FIBA Basketball World Cup (others include France, Argentina, Spain and, of course, USA) brushed away their fans’ hopes of witnessing an exciting game against two of the world’s best teams (Lithuania is placed 4th and Greece 5th in the FIBA World Rankings), after just seven minutes, when they were up 8 points.
Fotis Katsikaris’ players presented a challenge to the Lithuanians for about two minutes in the whole match when at the end of that first period they managed to peal down the score’s difference with a 7-0 run and then equalize with Kostas Sloukas first shot in the 2nd period (19-19).
In the end of the second period, the tournament hosts were leading the score with 11 points until the 2005 Euro Champions brought it back down to 5 (39-34). And that was it!
Greece reminded us of sleeping beauty after that point, forgetting how to defend, to pass, to create or even to shoot. It was as if they agreed at halftime to rest for the rest of the game. One mistake gave way to the other, while all defensive rebounds were lost. That gave the opportunity to Valanciunas (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Motiejunas (18ps, 7 rbnds) to dance the Greeks away by 24 points and finish the 3rd quarter at 64-45.
The last ten minutes of the game were dreadful to watch as both teams had no more goals to conquer.
The only positive point Greece should keep is that this a preseason friendly were errors can be repaired. After all, starting point guard Nick Kalathes was out due to suspension and center Giannis Bourousis out to illness. With the addition of those two, Greece will look more promising.
Greece (Katsikaris): Zisis 5, Vasiliadis 4, Glyniadakis 4, Papanikolaou 5, Sloukas 7, Kaimakoglou 10, Vougioukas 11 (6 rebs), Printezis 14, Mantzaris 3, Athinaiou, Adetokounmpo 4 (5 rebs)
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