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Czech Republic vs Germany 18:00 CET

Turkey vs Lithuania 20:30 CET

With Dirk Nowitzki leading the team Germany should defeat Czechs without too much problems. German experience will lead them to the victory. My prediction is Germany win by 10 or 15 points.

We have some things to finish with Turkey <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Tongue' /> Last year in World Championship we lost to them twice. Lithuania played very poor and those losses were natural. This time we will have players that we missed in WC. Despite an average performance in the preparation games I'd like to trust in Butautas and believe that we will see totally different Lithuania in Eurobasket. We always struggle in the opening games but hopefully this won't be the case this time. Victory in the opening game is very important psychologically. Turks have a strong team but I am confident that we will win.
Only a day to go!

We did quite poorly against Turkey in the WC last year, but I'd like to think that we will be victorious.
Czech Republic 78 Germany 83 OT

(Jiri Welsch 22 pts | Dirk Nowitzki 35 pts + 11 rebs)

Nowitzki does it again <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Biggrin' />
Turkey 69 Lithuania 86

(Šarūnas Jasikevičius 18 pts + 8 rebs + 7 assists | Hedo Turkoglu 18 pts + 5 rebs)
Well done.

Bet Vilius is pleased.
Oh yeaaaah.

Brilliant start.

But I felt that we still needed to be more ruthless. Turkey had truly terrible percentages tonight - 35% of 2-pointers and 30% from beyond the arc.

Really, I shouldn't be complaining. Great start, with Jasikevicius being the main man.

Bring on the Czech.
I was watching the livescore of Germany vs Czech Republic and was rooting for the Czechs. I hate one-man teams. If they managed to beat Germany I am almost certain that European vice champions would have left the competition right after the group stage. Turkey should defeat Germans tonight.

Now about the most important game <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Biggrin' /> It started heavily and was really close. But in the 2nd quarter there was a significant improvement in our game. Lithuania failed to attack well but the defence was really good and that's a achievement of our head coach Ramūnas Butautas. After the half time we were even better. While not letting Turks to score we played fast in offence and they couldn't defend against us. I was very worried when Jasikevičius was injured as it looked like Eurobasket could be over for him. But he came back later and played well. Šaras will play today against Czech Republic but his time could be limited if we play well so that he could recover from the injury faster. In conclusion it was a great opening win against a strong team. Linas Kleiza was in his own style making 4 dunks and hitting a 3-pointer. I hope players will not relax tonight against Czechs and we will see one more great win.
Lithuania 95 Czech Republic 75

(Kšyštof Lavrinovič 22 pts + 5 rebs | Jiri Welsch 18 pts + 6 assists + 5 steals)
Almost perfect first quarter by Lithuania didn't leave too much doubts who will come on top at the end of the game. We led 32:15 after 1st quarter. There were some very nice episodes in offence. Jasikevičius could rest as the result was safe. After quite mediocre performance in friendly games Kšyštof Lavrinovič played a great game. He hit some 3-pointers as he usually do and was hard to stop for Czechs. Yet again turnovers is the main problem. If the team don't make so many mistakes it would be very hard to stop us. Bench players had a chance to play more and even Gustas used the opportunity and made a dunk <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Biggrin' /> Group winner deciding game tomorrow most likely since Germany lead Turkey 40:27 at the moment.
Germany 79 Turkey 49

(Dirk Nowitzki 24 pts + 6 rebs | Hedo Turkoglu 15 pts)

What an earthquake for Turkey... Something went terribly wrong in the preparation. After a promising team last year, I'm sure no-one would expected this. It's time for a real change I guess. 30-point difference... This isn't Turkey.
I thought that Turkey could end victorious in this game but when I saw how they started the game it was obvious that they have small chances. A 30-point win for Germany is something that happens very rarely. The score suggests that Turkey couldn't break their defence. To score 49 points and expect to win is impossible. Turkey are probably emotionally crushed and Czechs have good chances to win a ticket to the second round by defeating them tonight.

Lithuania will have a very important game against Germany today and I think it's better. Because if we had already won the group it might have a negative effect on players and they could play relaxed. Czechs were very hard in defence making some serious fouls. Jonas Mačiulis was injured by one of their players. It is still unknown ho serious his injury was. Linas Kleiza lost his temper after Czech Republic player fouled him and smacked his neck and received a technical foul. I was saying why did he do that it wasn't necessary. But when the Czech player didn't say a word to him and walked away like nothing happened it was obvious that he was hit for a reason.
Lithuania 84:80 Germany

Lithuania: D.Lavrinovič 18, Jaiskevičius 15 (10 assists), Šiškauskas 13, Songaila 11, Kleiza 10, Kaukėnas 9, K.Lavrinovič 5, Jasaitis 3.

Germany: Nowitzki 28, Okulaja 12, Garrett 10, Hamann 8, Roller 8, Greene 5, Femerling 4, Herber 3, Jagla 2.

What a drama at the end of the game! We started very strong in the first quarter 30:17. The game was intense and Germans couldn't stop Lithuanian players. Dirk Nowitzki was guarded well and wasn't given an opportunity to feel the rhythm. Jaiskevičius was a leader always. The amount of turnovers was also reduced significantly. The pace slowed down in the 2nd quarter. Lithuania won it too 19:15. It was obvious that Germany will do everything to come closer after half time. But somehow players did the same what they did against Czech Republic yesterday - relaxed. Of course full credit goes to German players who worked very hard but Lithuanians didn't look so motivated as they were in the first half. It was 68:57 after three quarters. The whole fight was still ahead apparently. Germany started well in the 4th quarter and soon the score was 70:65 and the intrigue returned. It was the first game for Lithuania in Eurobasket when the game was decided in the final period. Germans were on the move and looked confident while Lithuanians got confused as they probably were thinking about the victory too early. The score was 81:80 at one point. Nowitzki shot many 3-pointers but missed most of them. For some reason we did the same. When we needed to score easy points we were firing 3-pointers with nobody to take rebound. It was complete waste of shots. Fortunately Lithuania played better in the end with Germany failing to use their chances. A disappointing end but I guess this result will teach players a lesson. Also it is good to have some high-pressure periods before the main battles.
Lithuania 84:80 Germany

That was a lot harder than it could've been.

All in all, a great game from Lithuania. I guess, I don't have much to say apart from the obvious - i.e. Lithuania are much more of a team rather than one man and his assistants. Jasikevicius had, yet again, a great game - posting a double double, dishing out 10 assists. Germany had 3 in total. And 2 of those came from Nowitzki. The main reason it was so close that Germany had a barrage of 3-pointers, and although the percentage was similar to ours, they had 12 more attempts. Plus, they shot better than us from close in, too. Really, there was a HUGE gap at halftime, then Nowitzki turned it on and carried the whole team. Some of the shots were more luck than skill (like the 3-pointer off the backboard) but still, he took on Lithuania and did pretty damn well.

A highlight I seem to remember is the alley-oop pass by Jasikevicius with Lavrinovic making it and getting fouled in the process. That was probably one of the main turning points. As well as Okulaja's (I think) offensive foul with a few seconds to go. He basically lost his team the match. Must feel quite bad.

Well, 2 days rest now and then some more nerves and great basketball.
Czech Republic 72:80 Turkey

Czech Republic: Lubos Barton 22, Pavel Benda 14.

Turkey: Hidayet Turkoglu 22, Ibrahim Kutluay 17, Mehmet Okur 16.

No surprises in this game. Both teams had a chance to qualify for the next round but Turkey used this oportunity.

1. Lithuania 3/0 6

2. Germany 2/1 5

3. Turkey 1/2 4

4. Czech Republic 0/3 3