Greece started its Eurobasket campaign with a hard-fought 89 to 85 win over Croatia in Milan on Friday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came to the rescue with two blocks, a dunk, and a goal foul in the last minute to give Greece the win against feisty Croatia.
In total, Giannis finished the night with twenty-seven points, eleven rebounds, six assists, and three blocks while Tyler Dorsey proved to be a solid wingman also with twenty-seven points and 5/9 threes.
“I love playing with Giannis,” said Tyler Dorsey after the game.
“He causes so much attention and havoc every time he drives…every time he does something and for me, I just try to be ready to shoot,” Dorsey said.
“For me it’s amazing to play with him in the pick and roll—he can pop and hit the mid-range, he gets to the rim and or he just gets me open because he sets great screens,” Dorsey added. “So I can’t complain.”
— #EuroBasket 2022 (@EuroBasket) September 2, 2022
Croatia trimmed Greece’s lead
Despite a good start by Croatia (8-3), thanks to Giannis and Dorsey, Greece led by 19 (40-21) before settling to a 16-point advantage at halftime (46-30).
However, that was not the end of it. With Greece going cold, Croatia trimmed the point difference to two (62-60). Still, Greece answered with a 13-4 run (75-64) with eight minutes left.
Once more, Croatia made the comeback, and with one minute left, Greece entered the last minutes leading by two (84-82), but it was Giannis’ time.
The losing side made a great effort with Jaleen Smith scoring twenty-three points and veteran Krunoslav Simon adding eighteen and making things happen. Bojan Bogdanovic with nineteen points and seven assists also had a big night.
Greece third favorite to win EuroBasket gold
Greece will now face Italy on Saturday. Apart from Italy, Croatia, and Greece, Group C includes Estonia, Great Britain, and Ukraine.
There are twenty-four nations participating in EuroBasket, and they are split into four groups—Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D. Each of those groups features six teams.
According to a vote of the International Basketball Federation, Greece is considered the third favorite to win the gold medal behind France and Slovenia.
Greece garnered 15.2 percent of the votes while France and Slovenia are tied for first place with 30.4 percent. Serbia was fourth with 12.7 percent in the pre-game polls.