By John Rammas/ email@example.com
Milan, Italy – With the game on the line, Giannis Antetokounmpo came to the rescue. Two blocks, a dunk, and a goal foul in the last minute by the Freak were enough for Greece to escape feisty Croatia and get the 89-85 win in Eurobasket Group C.
In total Giannis finished the night with 27 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks, while Tyler Dorsey proved to be a solid wingman also with 27 points and 5/9 threes.
Still, with Greece playing without their centers since both Kostas Antetokounmpo and George Papagiannis were out, the game was full of ups and downs. As coach Itoudis said: “It was a tough premiere against a team we respect a lot”.
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.
“What I will keep from this game for sure is the composure we had, when Croatia made their comebacks”, added Itoudis. “We are missing some pieces, but we are growing as a team”.
The losing side made a great effort with Jaleen Smith scoring 23 points and veteran Krunoslav Simon adding 18 and making things happen. Bojan Bogdanovic with 19 points and seven assists also had a big night.
“Giannis is a great player, you have seen why and Dorsey was killing us with his three”, said Smith on what can be a pattern for the way Greece plays in the tournament. “But if we played as we did in the second half, we will be fine”, he added.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL