Antetokounmpo brings Greece back to the Games after 16 years

Antetokounmpo brings Greece back to the Games after 16 years
Antetokounmpo brings Greece back to the Games after 16 years

With Giannis Antetokounmpo, but also with Nick Calathes and Georgios Papagiannis, Greece won the Olympicswhich was organized in Peace and Friendship in Piraeus, and will be in Paris 2024. He returns to the Olympic Games 16 years laterbecause since Beijing 2008, when she finished fifth, she had not managed to qualify. Those were good years after the gold at Eurobasket 2005, the silver at the World Championships in 2006 and, later, the bronze at the European Championships in 2009. Since then, she has not made it to the semi-finals and her best qualification at a World Championships is ninth place in 2014. Greece now dreams of making up for lost timeapproaching the level of its glory years, and he does it with Vassilis Spanoulis on the bench and a more mature Antetokounmpo At 29 years old and with more resources for FIBA ​​basketball, the Greek star, chosen MVP of the tournament, led with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 28 minutes to win against a Croatia (80-69) that put up resistance but lacked that extra bit of accuracy in shooting.

The Croatians missed 15 of their 21 three-pointers and did not reach 50% in two-point shooting. Ivica Zubac (19 points and 12 rebounds) was the star of Josip Sesar’s team, but without three-pointers to create space for him, he became increasingly suffocated. Dario Saric added another 14 points (and 12 rebounds and 4 assists) and Real Madrid player Mario Hezonja, 15 and 3 passes; although the most accurate on the perimeter was Mateo Dreznjak (3 of 5 from three). A contrast with Greece where and no shooter like Calathes and a 2.20m guy like Papagiannis made eight triples, the center made 5 of 8 and started with 4 of 5 (16 of his 19 points in the first half). When the lead reached and exceeded 10 points in the third quarter, Croatia could no longer cut back enough to have a real chance of winning. They lacked that, an outside hand to cover for Zubac’s great work. Because in the back, against Antetokounmpo, the team defended at a good level. Spanoulis gave a presence to his namesake Vassilis Toliopoulos, with the loss of the injured Sloukas (formerly of Olympiacos and now at Aris), who performed well and contributed three-point shooting, especially against Slovenia in the semi-final (four without missing and 8 of 13 in the tournament).

Greece will be waiting for Group A in France, the same as in Spainin which both will fight (we will see if with Sloukas as reinforcement) to advance to the quarterfinals against Canada and Australia. A very tough group. The two best finishers and the two best third-place finishers (from three groups) will qualify.

The Greek national team celebrates qualification for the Paris Games.ARIS MESSINISAFP

Marcelinho Huertas will be in Paris at 41 years old

Of the four Pre-Olympics, where the winner of each of them obtains the ticket to the Paris Games, The first to finish was Riga. There Latvia collided with the host’s curse (a couple of hours later Greece broke it). Brazil gave its rival no chance with a fast start that made things very clear in the first quarter: 11-34 with 11 points from Caboclo then and another 11 from Leo Meindl, former Fuenlabrada player.

There was only room for the local feat, for a comeback of the era, and there was no attempt. Brazil controlled the situation until the devastating and definitive 69-94. And he did it despite losing Yago dos Santos due to injury, who was carried off the track without being able to support Caboclo and Marcelinho Huertas. The base of La Laguna Tenerife He will compete at the Games at 41 years and two months old, just a few days younger than the record set by Luis Scola in Tokyo in 2021.

Brazil players show their ticket to Paris.
TOM KALNINEFE

A great success for Brazil and its coach, the Croatian Aleksandar PetrovicDrazen’s brother. The Brazilian team will return to an Olympic event after hosting the Rio 2016 Games. In this century, they had only qualified for London 2012.. To find their previous presence, we would have to go back to Atlanta 1996. The team, two-time world champion (1959 and 63), has in its list of achievements three Olympic medalsthree bronzes (1948, 1960 and 1964). His rivals in Pariswithin group B, will be Germany, France and Japan.

Caboclo (21 points) and Meindl (20) were also the best at the end, although well supported by Georginho de Paula (14), Gui Santos and Huertas himself (both with 12, the point guard also had 7 assists). Brazil’s 13 of 24 three-point shooting did a lot of damage to Latvia, which was not up to par. Some good moments from Arturs Zagars (14 points and 4 assists), after his serious knee injury, the presence of Rolands Smits, some Rihards Lomazs and little else. The Latvian fans experienced it in Riga as a great disappointment after the great hopes generated by Luca Banchi’s team at the last World Cup, who were one shot away from reaching the semi-finals.

Puerto Rico surprises Lithuania

The Puerto Rican basketball team qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics at home this Sunday after a 20-year absence by beating Lithuania 79-68Puerto Rican basketball last participated in the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, when it made history by becoming the first team to beat the United States.

Puerto Rico opened the first period led by point guard José Alvarado, who was proclaimed the Best Player of the tournament. He soon put up eight points and opened a 6-14 lead.However, Lithuania, the tenth world basketball power, responded with a run of play led by its star center Domantas Sabonis, to take the lead 14-17.

But after a Davon Reed three-pointer and a Jordan Howard basket, Puerto Rico tied the game at 19-19 before the end of the first quarter. In the second, Lithuania came back with a 6-0 run and shaped the advantage to 20-25. Puerto Rican coach Nelson Colón had to ask for time to readjust his lines. During that break, Colón reinforced Alvarado’s work with Tremont Waters. The combination was vital for the Puerto Rican offense, which regained control and the score was 32-34. Then the Lithuanian coach Kazys Maksvytis appealed to the technical timeout to adjust his team’s structure while more than 12,000 fans celebrated in the stands, including singers Bad Bunny and Ozuna.

Lithuania then came close to the scoreboard with a three-pointer by Arnas Butkevicius at 35-37, but Waters appeared again with two points and extended the lead to 39-35 to close the first half of the match. In the third period, the offensive power of Waters and Alvarado for Puerto Rico was once again devastating for Lithuania, since between them, They scored the first 16 points for the Caribbean squad, helping them take a comfortable 55-43 lead.Puerto Rico varied this 12-point advantage slightly throughout the remainder of the period until closing it with a 62-50 advantage in the fourth and final quarter, in which the Caribbean squad continued to shine until winning and obtaining the last ticket to the French capital.

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