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25 August, 2023
10 September
7 Bogdan Bogdanovic (SRB), 24 Stefan Jovic (SRB)
05/09/2023
Game Report
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Impressive Serbia advance to Semi-Finals with big win over Lithuania

MANILA (Philippines) - For the third time in last four FIBA Basketball World Cup events, Serbia are a final four team. They beat Lithuania 87-68 in the Mall of Asia Arena, riding on another hot shooting game by Bogdan Bogdanovic.

 

Serbia reached the Semi-Finals in 2010, the Final in 2014, then finished fifth in China in 2019. Lithuania will now move to Classification Games 5-8.

 

Turning point: Lithuania were the hottest shooting of the entire competition since their second half against Greece, which saw them go 12-of-16 from deep in the second half alone.

Add to that one the 9-of-9 three-point shooting start in the game against the United States, and another 5-of-6 first quarter against Serbia. One problem - even with a hot shooting quarter, all they got was a 25-24 lead after the first ten minutes.

That's because coach Svetislav Pesic went with his biggest strength in this one: the defensive pressure. Rokas Jokubaitis and Vaidas Kariniuaskas had a nightmare of a game, being chased around by Ognjen Dobric and Aleksa Avramovic, and even if they got through, the rest of Serbian defense forced turnover after turnover.

With each fast break point, the Lithuanian part of the stands went more silent, while the volume increased behind the Serbian bench where the red-blue-white fans were. Once Bogdan Bogdanovic made a deep three-pointer to end the half at +11, it was clear where the game was headed.

 

TCL Player of the Game: Name a better love story than Bogdan Bogdanovic and the jersey with "SRBIJA" emblazoned on the front. The superstar put up 18 points before the break, finishing with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.


This was his ninth game with 20+ points since the start of the last World Cup in 2019, no other player has more than seven in that same span. Bogdanovic also climbed over the 400 mark in points scored in his World Cup career, becoming the sixth man to reach that milestone in this century.

 

Stats don't lie: We pointed at the points from turnovers in our preview, and it turns out that was the deciding factor of this one. Lithuania had 15 turnovers, but the trouble was that eight of those were also Serbia's steals, giving Pesic's team a 21-8 edge in points from turnovers.

Serbia dominated the paint once again, winning the points from paint 48-24.

Bottom line: Serbia reached the Semi-Finals once again, and if Canada and the United States win their Quarter-Finals, that would also mean Serbia have a guaranteed place at the Paris 2024 Olympics. They will face the winner of Canada v Slovenia in the Semi-Finals.

Lithuania ran out of gas just two days after their emphatic win over the USA. They went 4-of-22 from deep after their 5-of-6 start, and even though they had four players in double figures, none of them had more than 14 points.

They said: "I don't what happened today. It looked like they played more aggressive, they played better defense, and we couldn't get into our rhythm. We lost by 20 points without a fight, they just crushed us." - Tadas Sedekerskis, Lithuania

"Toughest team won today. From our side, lack of energy and lack of emotions cost us the win. We wasted too much of it a couple of days ago, Serbian team was much better. Our offense was bad, Serbian team pushed us to bad situations, and off of our bad offense they got cheap points, three-pointers, layups." - Kazys Maksvytis, Lithuania head coach

"I want to say something from this morning. Our teammate who is still with us, Borisa Simanic, he gave us amazing energy. We were nervous yesterday, moving to another hotel, I was especially nervous, because I was always losing to Lithuania in my young age. I was so nervous. And then I see the message from Borisa, he was saying, 'Guys, I'm good, don't worry. Let's win tonight!' For him just to think about us after everything that happened to him (losing a kidney), he united us, and that's an amazing guy. This is for him." - Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia

"This is a team win, definitely, against a team that's also playing team-first basketball, and we respect that. That was what got us even more motivated, to face such an opponent. We took away their style of play thanks to our energy and our defense, and we have to say it. That's the way that we should play, and we're trying to play that way all the time. We dished out 25 assists, we're the best fast break team in the World Cup, and that's what we want, that's what's important to us. But to do that, we need to play defense." - Svetislav Pesic, Serbia head coach

 

The game report will be updated shortly. Check back soon for TCL Player of the Highlights, and find out what the players and coaches said!

FIBA