Playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece beat Turkey 89-80 on Friday in Athens to claim the Acropolis International Basketball Tournament title.
The two-time NBA MVP missed his second consecutive game due to minor back pains. Giannis Antetokounmpo also skipped Thursday’s game against Georgia. The Greek national team wanted to rest their front-runner.
On Wednesday, the first day of the tournament, Antetokounmpo led Greece with 24 points to a victory over Poland with a final score of 101-78.
Kostas Antetokounmpo, Giannis’ brother, picked up the slack for Greece on Friday evening against Turkey. He finished with 19 points shooting 80 percent from the field, 12 rebounds, a pair of steals, and a block in the win.
Kostas was not alone in leading Greece to a win without his brother Giannis.
Dallas Mavericks Tyler Dorsey added 16 points and four rebounds. Former Rockets forward Kostas Papanikolaou had 13 points and five rebounds in the win. Papanikolaou played for the Rockets during the 2014-2015 NBA season.
Turkey’s coach, Ergin Ataman, was ejected late in the third quarter after he received his second technical foul.
Greece won the Acropolis International Basketball Tournament 18 times
The Acropolis International Basketball Tournament is an international basketball competition that is played between national teams, which has been held almost every year since 1986, and takes place in Athens, Greece, during the summer.
The tournament which is organized by the Hellenic Basketball Federation takes place before the big official FIBA tournaments like the EuroBasket, the FIBA World Cup, and the Summer Olympic Games.
Serbia was the 2021 champions while Greece is the record holder, winning it eighteen times.
The EuroBasket 2022 will start on September 1st with Turkey and Greece among the twenty-four competitors.
It will be co-hosted by four countries, namely the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, and Italy.
The Greek team kicked off its training on August 1st and has a full month of preparation and friendly games ahead before their Eurobasket premiere on September 2nd.
They will compete in Group C alongside Estonia, Ukraine, Britain, Italy, and Croatia.
Before they head to Milan for Eurobasket, the Greek squad will also play two important official games for the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers—on August 25th against Serbia in Belgrade and three days later against Belgium in Athens.