Serbian basketball is back and kicking ladies and gentlemen!!! And how hard do they kick!!! One of the youngest squads of the World Championship defeated the World Champions of Spain and have now two shots at winning a medal.
What can we say (or rather write) for this magnificent Serbian basketball generation? The same that won every single gold medal there was to win in all the youth competition in the previous years has now graduated with a PhD and teaching how the game should be played to veterans and one of the best teams European and World basketball have ever seen, that of Spain.
Guided by professor Ivkovic the future dynasty of European basketball are not aiming even higher than last year when they won the silver medal at Eurobasket 2009. Next opponent? Turkey or Slovenia. We’ll know shortly enough.
The game started with tremendous non-defences by both teams. Bjelica and Velickovic were literally on fire for Serbia. The first one even scored two times the points he averaged in a game in a single quarter. Serbs were shooting without mercy from behind the 6.25m line and took a 20-13 lead. Navarro was trying to pull the Spanish team all alone but what can one man do against Serbia? As a Result Serbia expanded their lead to ten points, 23-13. Spain ran a 8-4 score at the end and the final score of the first quarter was 27-23 to Serbia.
Spain tightened up their defence and cut the deficit down to one point, 29-28. It was Teodosic who took his gun at that point and re-established order in the game, 40-32 with three minutes to go. On the other hand we had Garbajosa coming up with all the answers and making the score 42-38. From that point on it was a two-men show with both Navarro and Keselj bombing from outside. Half time score: 49-41 to Serbia.
The beginning of second half was great for Spain and not so… great for Serbia as the World Champions made a quick 10-0 run and took the lead 51-49. They managed to keep their lead until 62-59 when Velivkovic stepped up and turned things around, giving the lead to Serbia, 65-62. The end of the third quarter saw Serbs being in front by three, 67-64.
And then we had the last ten minutes. And when the big guns were out of ammo Serbian bench rose up the occasion and Savanovic alongside Keselj proved that they know how to ball. With personal plays they increased Serbia’s lead to eight, 77-69 while Spain expected Navarro to do everything in the court, but he just wasn’t enough.
Or was he? With La bomba on fire Spain made the score 83-79 but the Serbs didn’t seem ready to allow Spain back and with four minutes to go the score was 86-78 for Serbs. Spain pulled together whatever strength remaining and with a 6-0 run cut the deficit down to two, 86-84 with two minutes to go.
Then in matter of seconds Keselj and Navarro put the ball into the bucket from behind the arc and on top of that Gasol tied the game at 89-89 with 25 seconds to go! Then we had one of the best plays of the entire tournament, as Teodosic held the ball dribbling at half court for 22 seconds and with seconds remaining made a threepointer from 9 meters in front Garbajosa to seal the deal for Serbia.
Score by quarters: 27-23, 49-41, 67-64, 92-89
Serbia: Velickovic 17 (4 stl), Keselj 17, Savanovic 15, Bjelica 14, Krstic 13 (9 rbs), Teodosic 12 (8 ass), Tepic 2, Perovic 2, Rasic (4 to), Paunic, Markovic
Spain: Navarro 27 (5 ass, 4 to), Garbajosa 18, Rudy 15, Gasol 13 (3 blk), Vazquez 4 (2 blk), Llull 4, Rubio 3, Mumbru 3, Reyes 2, San Emeterio, Lopez