22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
33 Yuki Kawamura (JPN)
Game Report
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Japan clamps down on Kazakhstan in second half for big home win

OKINAWA (Japan) - Japan went toe to toe with Kazakhstan in the first half before turning up their defensive intensity to break away in the last 20 minutes and win 73-48.


The first half ended in deadlock at 27-27, but Akatsuki Japan came out of the locker room from halftime with defense as their top priority. They’d hold the Steppen Wolves to only 10 points in the third quarter before breaking away with 46 points of their own in the second half.

All players except for Yuya Nagayoshi go on the scoreboard for Japan with Yudai Nishida (13 points) and Yudai Baba (11 points) in double-digit scoring. Meanwhile, Nick Fazekas remains undefeated in World Cup Qualifiers play as a part of this win, with 8 points and 8 rebounds in his return to the national team lineup.


Anton Bykov had an effective game for Kaakhstan with 18 points and 8 rebounds.

Turning points

Coaches always emphasize the importance of coming out of the halftime break strong and Japan did that very well in this game. They broke out for a 12-0 run in the span of only 3 minutes early in the third quarter, a run from which Kazakhstan weren’t able to recover.

Game heroes

Most point guards set the tone of the game on the offensive end, but Japan’s Yuki Kawamura sets the tone for his team on the defensive end.

Despite always being one of the smallest players on the court, young Kawamura continues to be a sparkplug for Japan because of his defensive intensity which is highly contagious among the roster as well. His 5 steals speaks volumes, but it’s only a part of what the 21-year-old has to offer.

Stats don’t lie

Akatsuki Japan held Kazakhstan to only 28.6 percent shooting from the field (20-70 field goal shooting), 7.7 percent from beyond the arc (2-26 three-point shooting), while forcing their opponents into 24 turnovers.

This will be a tough game to rewatch for coach Oleg Kiselev and his team, but they’ll need to do that and figure out how to fix their issues as soon as possible.

Bottom line

It was another impressive game for Akatsuki Japan in Okinawa Arena - where they will be hosting the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 games next year. Coach Tom Hovasse’s squad didn’t shoot particularly well this game, but they showed that they can manage to win by locking it down on defense instead.