Russia knock off Serbia in heavyweight game on Day 2; Group A continues to thrill
(FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Day 3 of action did not disappoint with fancies Russia and Serbia slugging it out in a showpiece game, while Group A continued to produce thrillers.
Russia climbed to the top of Group D with a vitally important 75-72 victory over Serbia. They were paced by Aleksei Shved's 22 points with Nikita Kurbanov and Timofey Mozgov adding 11 points apiece. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Boban Marjanovic collected 19 points each for Serbia, who dropped to a 1-1 mark.
"From the beginning of the game, we were nervous for some reason. We made a lot of mistakes, first of all defensively," Serbia forward Vladimir Lucic lamented afterwards.
In Group A action, Slovenia continued their winning ways with a thrilling 81-78 victory over hosts Finland. Goran Dragic scored 24 of his 29 points in the first-half and Anthony Randolph became an unlikely hero with a steal off Lauri Markkanen followed by a dunk with 3 seconds left.
Markkanen stepped out of bounds on the final play of the game but finished with a team high 24 points. However, he was assisted, limping from the court following the final buzzer, with the Finnish camp remaining tight-lipped about the extent of the incident.
"I didn't see any injury. It's the hits that you get in this game," Finland coach Henrik Dettman said about Markkanen's status. "Injuries are a different story. I'm only a coach not a doctor, so I can't predict this. It's part of the game."
In other Group A action, France overcame a resilient Greece to win their first game of the tournament. Having led by 24 points at one stage, France nearly let slip another lead as Greece got within 6 points late in the game but they hung on in a 95-87 victory.
Meanwhile, Poland have won their first game of the tournament with a decisive 91-61 victory over winless Iceland, who could not pull off the win, with the nation's President, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, looking on from his place among the Icelandic fans.
In Group B, Italy stayed unbeaten with a 78-66 victory over Ukraine, and Lithuania beat hosts Israel 88-73 with Mindaugas Kuzminskas scoring 16 points for the victors.
Tweet muto 💙 pic.twitter.com/LiRau6QqI6— Italbasket (@Italbasket) September 2, 2017
Unbeaten Germany defeated Georgia 67-57 with Dennis Schroder scoring 23 points. Georgia, who drop to 1-1, were led by Zaza Pachulia's 14 points.
Group C was highlighted by Spain's second-straight demolition after an easy 93-56 victory over the Czech Republic, Pau Gasol scoring 26 points.
In other Group C games, a strong 28-2 run by Croatia in the first-half propelled them to a comfortable 74-58 victory over Romania, while Montenegro thrashed Hungary 72-48.
Kristaps Porzingis stole the show with a dazzling performance against Belgium in Group D action, including a jaw-dropping putback dunk. He scored 27 points in Latvia's 92-64 victory.
The put back dunk and the walk off... 🇱🇻😱🦄— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) September 2, 2017
📽 @FIBA pic.twitter.com/wiAqaOHhTq
Hosts Turkey defeated Great Britain 84-70 in the other Group D game with Melih Mahmotuglu scoring 24 points.