Friday, September 09, 2011

FIBA Analysis (9/8): Bo McCalebb Burns Georgia; Greece Gets By Slovenia


Bo McCalebb's lay-in with two seconds left broke a 63-63 tie and gave Macedonia the win. With the win, Macedonia secured a berth in the quarterfinals. Bo lit up Georgia for 27 pts on 10-of-16, 4 assts & 4 stls. Tony Parker might be the only better guard in EuroBasket right now.

Like he's done against every other team, McCalebb tore up the Georgian defense with his speed all game. Didn't matter if it was in pick-n-roll or iso, McCalebb got to the rim with impunity. Split high screen/roll a few times for lay-ins and used a tight crossover to leave his defender flat-footed on another play. Finished with both hands in traffic.

On his game-winner, Bo drove the ball from the high right side off a hybrid iso/screen play and finished with his left hand. Bo did a lot of damage driving right-to-left all game.

When he wasn't scoring with his drives, he was drawing fouls--7-of-9 on FTA. Also hurt Georgia in transition scoring four baskets. And made two big steals in the late in the game.

Bo is currently the second-leading scorer left in the tourney (21.7 ppg), just behind Tony Parker. Bo also is just behind Parker on the leaderboard for FT attempts. Plus Bo is third in steals per game (2.3).

Bo did have four TOs and was 0-for-3 from 3pt. range. Bo's main weakness is his spotty jumper and he's shooting only 31% from behind the arc in the tourney.

Besides McCalebb, no one else on Macedonia did much of import offensively. Pero Antic (8 pts, 7 rebs, 4 stls) made a few nice plays, but if you take Bo's 10-for-16 out of the mix, the rest of the team shot 24%.

McCalebb's play was about the only thing that made this game palatable. Sloppy game where both teams shot under 37% and combined for a total of 31 TOs and 49 fouls. And both teams were terrible from long range. Georgia had to make due without its main option, Zaza Pachulia, who's out with a leg injury.

Georgia sprinkled in some zone on occasion, which was somewhat effective. Not sure why Georgia did not stick with the zone longer. Macedonia is an erratic outside shooting team and McCalebb is player you want to sag off.

Georgia submarined its fortunes by coughing up the ball 21 times. Some credit to Macedonia, who were credited with 13 steals but plenty of Georgia's TOs were just careless. Just throwing balls up for grabs. Though, it's not that surprising as Georgia came into this game leading the tourney in turnovers per game with 18.6.

Georgia covered somewhat for its mistakes by dominating the boards 46-32. They grabbed 15 off. rebounds to Georgia's 20 def. rebounds. Macedonia also kept Georgia in the game by fouling them 29 times.

Legendary draft bust Nikoloz Tskitshvili, who was starting in place of Zaza, led Georgia with 20 pts and 10 rebs. Skita's jumper was his main line of attack as he hit three 3PA plus a very long 2PA.

Georgian PF Viktor Sanikidze (Spurs own rights) drew fouls near the basket and finished off three dunks to end with 15 pts & 7 rebs.

Georgia dropped to 0-3 in Group F and has to hope that Slovenia keeps struggling. Next up for Georgia is a winnable game vs. Finland. If they lose that game, their quarterfinal hopes are squashed.


Greece blew a 12-point halftime lead with a dreadful 3rd-quarter performance but Greece recovered and took back the lead with a strong 4th quarter.

Slovenia went with a zone almost exclusively for the whole 2nd half. The zone alignment held Greece to only seven points in the 3rd and allowed Slovenia to take a 46-44 lead going into the 4th after being down 12 at the half. Greece regained its bearings in the 4th, knocking down five 3PA on its way to outscoring Slovenia 25-14 in the final stanza.

Besides the 3rd quarter, Greece had one of its better days offensively. Had by far and away its best 3pt. shooting day hitting 9-of-17. They shot 27% from long range in the opening round.

Greece's defense continues to be one of the best in the tourney. Held Slovenia to 37.7% shooting and 24% from 3pt. range. Greece mixed in quite a bit of matchup zone. Greece currently is tops in defensive FG pct. (37.3%) and third in guarding the 3pt. line (27.3%).

Anytime the ball went into the post, Greece would send a second man, usually along the baseline. Smart move considering how badly Slovenia has been shooting the ball from outside.

Veteran combo guard Nikos Zisis was the only Greek in double figures with 19 pts. Zisis scored most of his points on jumpers, including two big 3pt. makes in the last minute of the game.

Utah Jazz reserve center Kostas Koufos (6 pts, 8 rebs) continues to be very effective in limited minutes on both ends of the floor. Made scores around the rim (a nice spin move in post), grabbed off. boards (4) and got a few blocks.

Greece got results when they went to Giannis Bourossis (8 pts, 7 rebs, 3 assts) in the post. His post moves led to a few lay-ins and a hook, plus he made a few nice feeds out of the post.

Even though Slovenia's two losses were very close, they are definitely underachieving, particularly on the offensive end. Slovenia's 24% 3pt. shooting performance vs. Greece left them at 26% for the tourney, which is dead last on the 3pt. leaderboard. Slovenia did not help its cause by shooting 58% on the FT line.

Expected the numbers would go down a little with Boki Nachbar being replaced with non-shooter Zoran Dragic. But Goran Dragic reverting to his pre-'09 shooting ways has had a significant impact. Also Jaka Lakovic (32%) and Saso Ozbolt (24%) are shooting below their capabilities.

Slovenia desperately needs for Goran Dragic to get his game on track, especially his shooting. Goran had another game of mediocre impact with 9 pts & 2 assts. Goran was 0-for-3 from 3pt. range which puts him at 1-for-20 on 3PA for the tourney. This hinders Goran's ability to slash into the lane and he only had a few deep forays into the paint today.

Combo guard Jaka Lakovic is known for two things: knocking down jumpers and making dicey decisions. Jaka hit three 3PA and he also had his fair share of forced shots and costly turnovers.

SF Zoran Dragic made plays using his speed advantage once again. Had two strong finishes on baselines drives where he blew by his defenders when going away from ball screens.

Little bit of a letdown we have not seen Erazem Lorbek at his best in this tourney. Had another below-average game (for him) with 10 pts, 5 rebs, 2 assts and 3-of-10 shooting. Give him some leeway today as it was tough for him to get a rhythm as the double teams were coming at him non-stop. But he has not been converting at his normal rate throughout the tourney. Only shooting 41% overall which is keeping his ppg to a modest 12.2.

7-3 Mirza Begic (8 pts, 12 rebs, 3 blks) was a major force on the boards and on the backline of Slovenia's defense. Begic changed multiple shots and deterred ball-handlers to rethink their routes. Begic had five off. rebounds and drew a foul on a put-back attempt late. But he missed two free throws that would have given Slovenia a one-point lead with 2:00 left. Begic was only 4-for-10 at the FT line.

Greece improves to 2-1 and looks to be in good shape for a playoff bid. They face their stiffest competition yet in Russia on Saturday. If Greece beats Georgia on Monday, they advance.

Slovenia (1-2) faces Macedonia on Saturday and could really use a win. Waiting for Slovenia to show more potency on offense.


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