If you don’t like Euro 2007…
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on September 10, 2007
And I’m not talking about NBA basketball, but hoops in general.
The list of the amazing finishes increased last night, with Vassilis Spanoulis beating Croatia with a long (very long…) three before time expired. I’ll try to post the link later. So after Lakovic (Slovenia, vs Italy) and Gurovic (Serbia, vs Greece) we watched another exciting, tough basket at the buzzer.
But the excitiment continues, and this time Italy was a part of it. Yes, because here I am telling you the story of a nice, OT, comeback 84-75 win vs Turkey. Follow my recap, it’s fun.
1st quarter. It ended with Turkey up 14 (15-29), a score that actually was 10-25 (largest lead), with a 14-3 turkish edge under the boards !! Need more? Belinelli started with 0/3, Turkey scored twice just before the shot clock expired, once on a fallaway three, Italy shot 5/16, Turkey 9/14. Clear enough?
Ok, you got the picture. Mehmet Okur and mostly Hidayet Turkoglu started doing their job, scoring whenever they wanted, and Peker did the rest. Italy was… well, I don’t know. Zero ideas, no offensive game, ghosts walking under the boards. Terrific start.
2nd quarter. We simply started playing. It was our bench shaking things a little bit: seldom used center Crosariol (!), point guard Di Bella, but mainly forward Mancinelli (9 points in the quarter) and pf/c Angelo Gigli. Gigli went on for the whole game, by the way, ending with an amazing 17 points and 10 boards – and Sixers4guidos MVP title, but I am digressing….
Turkey’s lead was cut to 30-35 thanks to many stupid turnovers by Tanjevic’s team more than due to our good defense. But Turkoglu had another couple of great plays to end the first half at 34-43. Rebounds? 11-24… how can you win the game if your opponent outrebounds you that way ?? But games last 40 minutes, and we played only 20. Italy stayed in it also because Turkey shot only 11/20 from the free throw line. So…
3rd quarter. It was Gigli again sparkling a furious comeback: 44-49 with a driving dunk by our center, that added a corner three immediately after. Yes !! We have a game !
Turkey’s simply shocked, the comeback becomes impressive with Belinelli scoring his first basket on a three and starting a run that made us tie the game at 51-51 on a soft lefthanded layup by the Golden State rookie: but it wasn’t over, Soragna and Belinelli again put us ahead at 58-51 (a 14-0 break !) before Turkoglu ended the draught with a three. It’s 58-54 Italy at the end. Nice job guys, definitely. You see? Boxing out makes you get the rebounds…
4th quarter. Turkoglu and also Okur have range. They remind us of that to make it 59-62, when Italy takes bad shots, forcing drives, long threes or quick jumpers, withouth making them work on defense. 61-67 with another three by the Orlando Magic guard at -3.40… tough situation but here comes our heart. Gigli pulls a Okur and scores his second basket from behind the arc, Belinelli adds another two to cut the deficit to 66-67.
Gollum splits a pair from the line to set the stage for Belinelli heroics. Marco wants the ball, dribbles and takes it to the rack strongly, very strongly: he actually explodes and dunks in traffic, posterizing Okur and ties the game at 68-68 with 1.14 to go !!!
Jeeeeeezzz !! Check You Tube until you find this, and in the meantime enjoy the picture !!!!! That would have made it to Sportscenter, and for sure it’s worth a place in the “Top 3” actions of this competition.
No time to celebrate, there’s a finish to follow. “Brother Hedo” (who else ?) knocks down a pair from the line with 20 seconds to go, same for Bulleri with 9 so Turkey has the last ball and a chance to send us home.
Fortunately for us veteran Ibrahim Kutluay, turkish basketball legend – with a short, meaningless stint in the NBA with the Seattle Supersonics – misses a wide open corner three at the buzzer after Turkoglu gets doubled and smartly, unselfishly kicks it out. Kutluay has a perfect look but can’t connect. It’s overtime.
Overtime. Same story. Turkey in the beginning, Italy at the end.
Turkoglu (34) scores on a drive but misses the additional free throw (only 9/15 his final stat) so that the score is set at 72-75. Gigli replies with a nice low post move, Belinelli puts us ahead at 76-75 with a pair from the charity stripe and in the following play feeds Bargnani (finally !!) for a three.
Yes, “Il Mago” is clutch from the top of the key: 79-75 Italy and that basket is the decisive one, because Okur eventually fouls out, sends the Raptor to the free throw line and with a 81-75 lead with 1.09 to go the game is over.
Kutluay misses another two, this time from the stripe, to “cap” his horrendous night. I feel sorry for him because he’s a nice player, a warrior and a true leader. He wouldn’t have deserved it, but this is basketball… 84-75, the horn sounds and we can party.
It took balls, heart, pride to turn a 15 points first quarter deficit into a 9 points final win; that’s why we are guidos, I guess. It took also a kind help from Turkey, becase they could (should?) have won the game and/or close it earlier.
We are still alive but we need another win. Herr Dirk is waiting for us. We are ready.